Soyad™ adhesives keep manufacturers ahead of formaldehyde regulations
Interior wood products such as hardwood plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) are typically manufactured with adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde (UF). Over time, UF releases free formaldehyde into the air, going from its solid form in the adhesive to a gaseous form that is inhalable by humans. Formaldehyde is known to cause respiratory problems and was recently classified as a carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Many new global regulations have been enacted to restrict formaldehyde emissions from interior wood products, including those listed above. These products are used to make a wide variety of household goods, including kitchen and bath cabinets, countertops, baseboards, moldings, doors, shelving and assembled furniture. There are few alternatives to UF-based adhesives and most substitutes cost significantly more.
The Ashland answer
Our formaldehyde-free Soyad™ adhesives are patented, water-based products formulated with soy flour and a proprietary cross-linking resin. When blended together, the resin reacts with the protein in the soy flour to form a durable and water-resistant thermoset adhesive. This unique technology was originally developed by researchers at Oregon State University who set out to create a bio-based adhesive similar to the one used by mussels to adhere to rocks. Today, Soyad is the adhesive system of choice for industry-leading manufacturers who want to stay ahead of formaldehyde regulations and help improve the quality of indoor air for their workers and customers.
The Ashland advantages
Green chemistry – We were given a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2007 for our role in developing and commercializing Soyad adhesives. Administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the award recognizes chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of renewable green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture and use.
Customer successes – Commercial applications confirm that Soyad adhesives are cost-competitive, environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional wood adhesives.
One North American decorative hardwood plywood manufacturer wanted to reduce the formaldehyde emissions of its panels to meet CARB Phase 2 emission standards. Ashland recommended replacing the existing UF-based adhesive system with a Soyad adhesive. The subsequent reduction in formaldehyde emissions enabled the panels to qualify for LEED* (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points.
Another leading North American manufacturer converted its engineered wood flooring products to Soyad instead of a UF-based adhesive system. In addition to significantly reducing formaldehyde emissions, the Soyad adhesive proved to be cost-competitive to the existing system as well as several previously trialed low-emitting systems. Having exceeded the trial objectives, the manufacturer recently announced that it will convert to the Soyad adhesive.
Soyad adhesive technology is currently being validated in the production of composite panels such as particleboard and MDF. By replacing traditional formaldehyde-based adhesives with Soyad adhesives, composite panel producers are able to significantly reduce formaldehyde emissions from their products. The use of Soyad as a co-adhesive is also being validated. When used in combination with isocyanate adhesives to produce composite panels and oriented strand board (OSB), Soyad co-adhesives have been shown to reduce costs and improve cutting and routering results.