Adhesives are used in products that exist all around us. Plywood, for instance, is an extremely versatile material used in applications ranging from furniture to high-rise construction. Because plywood materials are constructed in layers, the choice of adhesive is a critical component that influences how the final product performs. Plywood adhesive is spread across the internal layers of wood, creating a hard, strong, and durable material once set. These hot press adhesives are available in many different formulations, each of which is suitable for different fabrication methods and end-uses. Although many types of adhesives are based on petrochemicals, newer and more eco-friendly adhesives are made largely from renewable sources like soybeans.
Specialty Organics’ BreezeBond™ is one of these innovative adhesives, synthesized from soybean protein for use in hot press plywood fabrication, hardwood laminates, veneers, and has also been demonstrated to be effective with decorative paper on medium density fiberboard (MDF) and even particleboard. BreezeBond™ is plant-based unlike other adhesives that contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde, methylene chloride, or other petrochemicals. Even the preservative used can be one that is not derived from fossil fuels. Switching to an environmentally safe wood glue like BreezeBond™ helps manufacturers lower carbon emissions while protecting employees, consumers, and the environment.
Overview of Environmentally Safe Wood Adhesives
Selecting a Hot Press Adhesive
Hot press adhesives come in many varieties, and their composition determines how the final material performs. When selecting an adhesive, it’s important to consider the application in which the finished product will be used. For instance, if the material is to be used indoors, avoiding materials that emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) would be ideal, while cost and recyclability/biodegradability are also important considerations. For applications that have greater potential exposure to the elements or where reliability and structural integrity is essential, it’s wise to select a moisture-resistant adhesive, possibly with a protective sealer that can withstand varied environmental conditions.
Eco-Friendly Hot Press Adhesive
For many decades, most manufacturers have used petroleum-based hot press adhesives to create plywood, with urea formaldehyde resins accounting for the lion’s share of the plywood adhesives used. However, the industry is increasingly turning toward environmentally friendly options, which offer comparable performance without harmful chemicals. Water-based soybean adhesives help manufacturers minimize reliance on oil, which in turn reduces emissions and yields safer products. They also limit employees’ exposure to solvents that can cause serious medical concerns.
BreezeBond™ Eco-Friendly Hot Press Adhesive
BreezeBond™ is Specialty Organics’ high-strength solution for manufacturers seeking environmentally friendly, formaldehyde free hot press adhesive. To create the substance, phosphorus is attached to the soy protein’s amino acid groups, changing the shape and structure of the protein. For added strength, an oxidizing agent is added to form extra cross-linking bonds between the amino acids. This process creates a structure that mimics that of a bioadhesive—the strong, sticky protein that allows barnacles to adhere to rocks.
The resulting BreezeBond™ formula offers the same performance as petroleum-based adhesives with a significantly lower environmental impact. Its viscosity can be adjusted to accommodate each specific application, it’s easy to apply, and meets industry standards for wet and dry strength adhesion.
Applications that can benefit from BreezeBondTM
Plywood is a stiff composite material formed by gluing together thin layers of wood. These layers are known as plies, giving the composite its name. To fabricate the material, manufacturers stack wood plies such that each layer’s grain is rotated up to 90° relative to the previous layer. This process is called cross-graining and it creates a strong, stiff, dimensionally stable material that is suitable for many applications. These characteristics rely on the use of a reliable hot-press adhesive to bond the layers together. Hot-press adhesive is also applied to the face veneers, which gives the plywood a more pleasing appearance.
Veneers are hot-pressed onto plywood or other types of forest product derived substrates to produce a decorative, yet durable finish for applications such as furniture and even flooring. Using BreezebondTM for indoor applications like these is a great way to keep the air fresh in homes and offices.
Hardwood laminates are often hot-pressed in a similar fashion to plywood and are used in high end furniture and some niche applications like skateboards.
Decorative Overlays are often used in inexpensive furniture over particleboard or medium density fiberboard (MDF) to lend an appearance of real wood grain. BreezeBondTM has been shown to work well with decorative paper/foils on both substrates while improving furniture manufactures’ bottom line by offering a low-cost adhesive formulation that is also more eco-friendly.
Preformed packaging is used to protect many consumer goods as they are distributed and sold. They are commonly molded into their desired shape using a hot-press adhesive together with natural fibers, making the packaging more bio-degradable and landfill-friendly. Using BreezeBondTM would enable ingredients used in the packaging to be almost entirely sourced from plants. This combination may even prove safe enough for evaluation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in food packaging.
Odorless, Petrochemical-Free Wood Adhesives
One of the major reasons to seek a bio-based hot press adhesive is to reduce employee and customer exposure to formaldehyde. Although formaldehyde is a chemical that naturally occurs in wood in tiny quantities, larger quantities of formaldehyde can cause adverse effects such as nose and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure can even contribute to certain cancers. The health risks are serious enough that the EPA regulates formaldehyde emissions for composite wood manufacturers. BreezeBond™ is a formaldehyde-free hot press adhesive, making it easier for manufacturers to comply with these requirements.
Limiting formaldehyde exposure is also important for the end-users. Formaldehyde can accumulate in indoor areas, creating a toxic environment. This is more likely in buildings that contain many pieces of wood furniture, including offices, school buildings, and hospitals. Creating composites without formaldehyde protects the occupants of these buildings, keeping them safer from both minor and major health issues.
Another reason to choose eco-friendly hot press adhesives is to minimize reliance on petrochemicals. Most wood adhesives are derived from petroleum. Like formaldehyde, excessive exposure to petrochemical-based products can cause health effects, including skin and lung irritation. This is especially dangerous for fabrication staff but can also have an impact on consumers who use these products daily. Additionally, petrochemical emissions contribute to air, soil, and water pollution, and reliance on oil has been a major driver of climate change.
BreezeBond™ is the only soy-based hot press adhesive on the market that contains no added formaldehyde and no petrochemical derivatives. This makes it an ideal option for manufacturers seeking adhesives that are healthier for people and the planet.
Advantages of Environmentally Safe Wood Adhesives
Environmentally safe wood adhesives like BreezeBond™ have many significant benefits for forest product manufacturers, veneers, and decorative overlays:
- Better For the Environment. Adhesives like BreezeBond™ protect the environment at every stage of production and use. Their raw materials are renewable and can be sourced sustainably. They contain extremely low VOC concentrations and emit no toxic fumes, and their non-toxic composition means that they can be disposed of without harming the environment.
- Fewer Odors and Fumes. Formaldehyde is known for its harsh and distinctive odor. Eliminating formaldehyde reduces the risk to manufacturing staff and their communities from inhaling toxic fumes and eliminates the foul odor sometimes associated with composite woods, which also makes for a more pleasant indoor experience for consumers as well.
- High Solids. BreezeBond™ is available with a solids content up to 50%, which means less vapor is driven off during the bonding process (which can lead to defects), and more active ingredients to ensure a strong, reliable bond.
- Captures Carbon. We all know that plants absorb greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, so since plywood is made from trees, why not use an adhesive that is derived from soybeans instead of petroleum? This can help companies remove one more hurdle on the way to net-zero.
Critically, none of the benefits come at the expense of performance. BreezeBond™ is competitive with current wood adhesives in the market and has undergone rigorous independent testing to verify its strength.
The push for more sustainable manufacturing practices has penetrated virtually every industry. Composite woods are no exception. Sustainable, environmentally safe hot press adhesives offer a simple and cost-effective way for manufacturers to decrease their carbon footprint and achieve their sustainability goals. And with BreezeBond™’s adjustable viscosity, there is likely a formulation that will work well in your specific application.
Specialty Organics has been engineering custom adhesives since 1962, and we have applied this expertise to create the most advanced soy-based hot press adhesive on the market. Synthesized from renewable sources and lacking the harmful components of petroleum-based adhesives, BreezeBond™ is ideal for a range of indoor applications such as furniture. It also has potential for use in disposable packaging yet is strong enough for structural applications like plywood and flooring composites. It has even been shown to be well suited for use with decorative overlays, such as veneers and decorative furniture paper foils, which have been demonstrated on both medium density fiberboard (MDF) as well as particleboard substrates. Unlike other soy-based hot press adhesives, BreezeBond™ features a three-month shelf life and a single-component adhesive formula free of detectable formaldehyde. The adhesive also offers:
- High solids (up to 50%)
- Strong wet bond strength
- Adjustable viscosity
- Extremely low VOC content (less than 0.008 ppm)
- Demonstrated on plywood, veneers, and even decorative paper
BreezeBond™ is reliable, durable, and sustainable, proven via independent lab testing to be strong and virtually free of harmful VOCs. To learn how a bio-adhesive can improve your process and products, contact Specialty Organics today.