We know more about Technical Gadgets.
There is an abundance of different adhesives available to use if you need to secure, stick, or repair an object. But until now such adhesives have been for the most part single use. You apply a blob of adhesive, it sticks things together, and they remain stuck together until you force them apart again.
Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has come up with a new adhesive, though, that it is possible to reuse many times over simply by shining a light on it.
This new organic material has an adhesive strength at about the same level as double-sided tape. A 1cm square of it is capable of supporting a 5kg weight, which equates to a strength of 50N/cm2.
The new adhesive is orange when in liquid, non-stick form. To make it harden you can simply expose it to natural light, but it will take quite a while to fully harden. For quick hardening you can instead shine a green light on it, with the time it takes dependent on how thick the layer of adhesive is.
AIST says a 10 micron thick layer will take 2 minutes to harden using an 80mW light source. It’s important to note there’s no heating or cooling involved in the process, the reaction is simply down to the type of light used.
Once hard, the adhesive turns yellow. To reverse the process and return it to a non-stick liquid form requires UV light with a wavelength between 365-385nm. The same 10 micron thick layer will become a liquid again within 3 minutes.
AIST intends to keep developing the adhesive to increase its strength. They also want to change its color to something better than yellow/orange. Something a dark color that goes transparent when hard would be ideal in my view.
As for uses, it all depends on how strong they can made the adhesive. It certainly has applications in manufacturing where objects need to be temporarily stuck in place, but it could also replace a range of adhesive products we use around the home with the selling point being a permanent bond can be reversed in a matter of minutes.