Magazine article Science News

Soybeans Could Beef Up Plywood Glues

Magazine article Science News

Soybeans Could Beef Up Plywood Glues

Article excerpt

Soon plywood might go vegetarian. The ubiquitous building material owes its strength to multiple wood sheets with their grains at right angles and tenaciousxglue between the layers. Now, researchers are proposing that plywood be manufactured using glue made with soy flour rather than with powdered cattle-blood protein as is done conventionally. The vegetable containing adhesive might reduce the wood's cost and alleviate health concerns among mill workers.

Aheading incentive for finding such an alternative is workers fears of breathing in cattle-blood dust and disease agents it might carry, says [fix][/fix] gelista of the U.S Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Peoria. Ill. Furthermore there are few suppliers of the blood protein, which helps make the glue sticky and durable.

In work funded by the United Soybean Board, Hojilla Evangelista and her colleagues developed and tested several glue formulations that use different amounts of soy ingredients from a variety of suppliers. Three glues that contain soyflour--a combination of soy protein and starch--have properties comparable to those made with the blood protein, says Hojilla Evangelista. In test, the soy-containing glues were at least as strong as the conventional glue and had comparable water resistance, she says.

The new glues also had foaming behaviour comparable to that of blood-proteins glue. Foaming is an essential trait for glue used in one of the major methods for making plywood. …

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