If research results from Purdue University bear fruit, it may one be possible to harvest soybeans with help from equipment constructed using soybeans.
According to a release by the university's Office of Technology Commercialization, researchers were looking for a potential replacement for industrial adhesives, most of which are based on petroleum.
"These glues are often toxic and permanent, which prevents the reuse/recycling of the materials to which they are bonded," the release reads in part.
Researchers ultimately developed a non-toxic and a dissolvable temporary solution using soybean products. The adhesive stops working after a few hours' submergence in water.
"The Purdue adhesive is derived from soybean oil and is non-toxic and debondable," the report reads.
Researchers report that in lap-shear testing, in which the adhesive is used to connect two surfaces which are then pulled apart horizontally, (as in a tug of war, as opposed to a sandwich), the adhesive hung tough with others.
"The adhesive exceeded the strength of Super Glue and epoxy for metal substrates, polished aluminum and sandblasted aluminum," the release reads. "The adhesive also performed similarly to epoxy for a plastic substrate, PVC."
The industrial adhesive market is worth billions of dollars, with potential expansion to tens of billions of dollars, depending on which market report you read. Researchers have high hopes for the material.
"Among the adhesive's many potential applications, it shows promise to replace rivets in automobiles and trucks, reducing weight and potentially increasing fuel efficiency by 0.1%," the release reads.
Researchers on the project include Jonathan Wilker, Bradley McGill, and Clayton Westerman.