OSU scientist creates earth-friendly tape

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by Keely Chalmers, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on July 16, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 16 at 9:27 AM

CORVALLIS, Ore. --   An accidental discovery by an Oregon State University scientist could revolutionize tape as we know it.  The sticky stuff we use to seal packages may soon be made from vegetable oil. 

It all started in a wood products lab at OSU. 

Professor Kaichang Li was attempting to make vegetable oil-based glue for wood.  The experiment failed, but Li noticed something interesting. 

"In the middle of the reaction I saw the material, it was really sticky," recalled Li. 

Shifting gears, Li decided to make tape instead.  But not your typical tape. 

"It's environmentally friendly, we don’t use petrochemicals," said Li.

Traditional adhesive tapes like duct tape are made using petroleum based products.  Li's invention uses only environmentally friendly, renewable ingredients. 

The key ingredient in the tape is soybean oil.  Li says the adhesive can be used for everything from duct tape, packaging tape, stick-on notes, labels, even stamps.

Not only is this tape environmentally friendly and sustainable, it's also a lot less expensive to make than traditional tape. Li estimates his tape can be made at about half the cost. 

"We’re getting a lot of phone calls ... all the major adhesive companies are calling me and e-mailing me," said Li.

 The professor said the university was already in talks with one major adhesive company to license the green-tape. 

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