Iza Harris Band: A Abstract 2 9/29/18
MLA: Tyler Berrigan. “Adhesive from trees could make tape more eco-friendly”. Science News for Students. September 24, 2018. N/A
Most people would think of tape as convenient for their daily lives and I thought this way as well before reading this article. Although, now I know that conventional tape is actually harmful to the environment and that there is a much better way for it to be made. Researchers have developed a way of making tape out of Lignin which is a natural polymer that is found in trees. There are many reasons why it’s better for the environment than conventional tape and the process of making this new tape is very intriguing.
What are the problems with conventional tape? Well, tape adhesives are made out of polymers and generally, the adhesive is made out of crude oil. Crude oil is a fossil fuel and because it is, it takes millions of years to develop. Since fossil fuels take so long to develop, if humans use them continuously and often, they will run out well before being replenished. Processing crude oil actually releases pollution and specifically, some greenhouse gases. This is why the making of conventional tape is harmful to our environment.
Researchers have developed a new way to make a new tape that is made out of Lignin from trees. Lignin is a natural polymer (as stated earlier), and it’s what makes plants (not just trees), stronger and steadier. The chemical structure of Lignin is very similar to that of the crude oil’s hydrocarbons. This is the process of which this new adhesive is being created. The wood being used is soaked in chemicals to break down Lignin’s molecules into smaller pieces. These pieces are then collected and examined. Then, they minimally change some of the chemical placement, this way the Lignin has exactly the correct chemical traits desired. Then the researchers would link the altered pieces together to create a new polymer. These new creations greatly resemble what crude oil looks like when used as an adhesive for tape. The way that this new adhesive is tested is that the team would coat tape-like plastic with the new adhesive and then they would conduct “stickiness tests” to see how much force it takes to peel the tape up after it is pressed down. After these tests, it was found that about the same amount of force was required to peel up the new tape as conventional tape.
Why is this new tape better for our environment? Well, as stated earlier, crude oil is a fossil fuel and processing it does release greenhouse gases. So, using Lignin is much healthier because it doesn’t pollute the environment. Lignin is a natural, renewable resource unlike crude oil. Also, during the making of paper, Lignin is a waste product and when being used as an adhesive for tape, it is actually serving a purpose instead of just being thrown away. Also, Lignin is very easy to find because it is a plentiful material.
The usage of Lignin as tape adhesive is so much healthier for the environment than crude oil for many reasons and the process of creating the healthier version is an incredible advancement. The reasons why conventional tape is damaging to the environment are not well known enough. I hope that it begins to become common knowledge because it’s important that we treat our planet the best that we can. I learned a lot from this article that I had not even the slightest knowledge of previously.