Washington: Researchers at the University of Sussex have developed a glue, which can unstick when placed in a magnetic field. The study has been published in the journal -- European Polymer Journal. Currently, items like mobile phones, microwaves and car dashboards are assembled using adhesives. It is a quick and relatively cheap way to make products but most of these products will be destined for landfill.
In the research paper, Dr Barnaby Greenland along with his team describes a new type of adhesive, which contains tiny particles of metal.
When passed through an alternating electromagnetic field, the glue melts and products simply fall apart. The adhesive works with plastic, wood, glass and metal and in terms of strength is comparable to those currently used in the industry.
Dr Greenland said: "In as little as 30 seconds, we can unstick items using a relatively weak magnetic field."
"There is little glue residue leftover, although this wouldn't be a problem for metal objects which are melted down for recycling anyway," he said.
"Using these specific levels of the magnetic field to heat is also incredibly safe. The energy only heats the metal specks in the glue. So we could place our bare hands in the field and feel absolutely no heat at all," he concluded.
In principle, the formula could be applied to any thermal adhesive making it an innovation, which could be incorporated into industry relatively easily. The team has also demonstrated that this heating technique can be used to stick items together, and as the project continues, efforts will focus on investigating this process further.