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A reversible water-based electrostatic adhesive

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Adriana Sierra RomeroORCiD, Dr Katarina Novakovic, Professor Mark GeogheganORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Authors. Angewandte Chemie International Edition published by Wiley-VCH GmbH. Commercial adhesives typically fall into two categories: structural or pressure sensitive. Structural glues rely on covalent bonds formed during curing and provide high tensile strength whilst pressure-sensitive adhesives use physical bonding to provide weaker adhesion, but with considerable convenience for the user. Here, a new class of adhesive is presented that is also reversible, with a bond strength intermediate between those of pressure-sensitive and structural adhesives. Complementary water-based formulations incorporating oppositely charged polyelectrolytes form electrostatic bonds that may be reversed through immersion in a low or high pH aqueous environment. This electrostatic adhesive has the advantageous property that it exhibits good adhesion to low-energy surfaces such as polypropylene. Furthermore, it is produced by the emulsion copolymerization of commodity materials, styrene and butyl acrylate, which makes it inexpensive and opens the possibility of industrial production. Bio-based materials have been also integrated into the formulations to further increase sustainability. Moreover, unlike other water-based glues, adhesion does not significantly degrade in humid environments. Because such electrostatic adhesives do not require mechanical detachment, they are appropriate for the large-scale recycling of, e.g., bottle labels or food packaging. The adhesive is also suitable for dismantling components in areas as varied as automotive parts and electronics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sierra-Romero A, Novakovic K, Geoghegan M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Angewandte Chemie - International Edition

Year: 2024

Volume: 63

Issue: 2

Print publication date: 08/01/2024

Online publication date: 29/10/2023

Acceptance date: 29/10/2023

Date deposited: 24/01/2024

ISSN (print): 1433-7851

ISSN (electronic): 1521-3773

Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/anie.202310750

PubMed id: 37899307


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