Sticking to Success: The Power of Gelatin in the Adhesive Industry

May 22, 2023

With rapid technological advancements, the adhesive industry is constantly exploring new ingredients to enhance the properties of their products. One such surprising yet highly effective component is gelatin, a product derived from collagen. Known for its exceptional binding and gelling properties, gelatin is making its mark in the adhesive industry, contributing to significant improvements in product quality and performance. We take you through the remarkable journey of gelatin in the adhesive industry, showcasing real-life success stories and its many benefits.

1.  What are gelatin?

1.1 How is gelatin made?

Gelatin is a natural protein derived from collagen, a key component of animal connective tissues. The production process involves several steps, including:

● Pre-treatment

Animal tissues are prepared by removing non-collagen components.

● Hydrolysis

The treated tissues undergo prolonged boiling to extract collagen.

Filtration and Evaporation: The collagen-rich solution is filtered and evaporated to increase gelatin concentration.

● Drying and Grinding

The concentrated gelatin is dried and ground into a powder for use.

1.2 Unique Properties of Gelatin in Adhesive Manufacturing

Gelatin possesses certain unique properties that make it an ideal ingredient for adhesives:

● Excellent Adhesion

Gelatin forms a strong bond with various surfaces due to its protein structure.

● Versatility

It can be used in a variety of adhesive types, from water-based to hot melt adhesives.

● Eco-friendly

As a biodegradable and non-toxic substance, it aligns with the increasing demand for environmentally friendly products.

2.  Role of Gelatin in Different Types of Adhesives

2.1 Gelatin in Water-based Adhesives

1.  Binding Strength: Water-based adhesives are widely used because they are environmentally friendly and versatile. Gelatin, when added to these adhesives, significantly enhances their binding strength. Thanks to its proteinaceous nature, gelatin forms strong intermolecular bonds, thereby reinforcing the adhesive's holding power.

2.  Flexibility: Gelatin's unique molecular structure imparts a degree of flexibility to the adhesive matrix. This flexibility is crucial in applications where the bonded materials undergo mechanical stress or dimensional changes, such as in packaging materials or construction applications.

3.  Moisture Balance: Gelatin's hygroscopic nature and its affinity for water plays a critical role in maintaining the adhesive's moisture balance. This is particularly significant in water-based adhesives, where optimal moisture content is key to achieving the right balance of tack, curing time, and binding strength.

2.2 Gelatin in Hot Melt Adhesives

1.  Quick Setting: Hot melt adhesives are known for their fast setting time. Gelatin, with its thermo-reversible gelling property, facilitates the adhesive's solidification process, ensuring a strong bond is formed quickly upon cooling.

2.  Temperature Resistance: Gelatin can withstand a wide range of temperatures without degrading, which makes it an ideal component in hot melt adhesives that are applied in a molten state.

3.  Adhesion: The presence of gelatin enhances the adhesive's ability to bond with various surfaces thanks to its excellent film-forming and adhesive properties.

2.3 Gelatin in Pressure-Sensitive Adhesives

1.  Stickiness: Pressure-sensitive adhesives are designed to form a bond when pressure is applied without the need for solvent, water, or heat. Gelatin enhances the adhesive's stickiness, making it an excellent choice for applications such as labels, tapes, and notepads.

2.  Conformability: Gelatin's flexibility allows the adhesive to conform to the surface, ensuring better contact and, thus a stronger bond.

3.  Longevity: Gelatin's natural resistance to microbial activity helps to extend the shelf-life of pressure-sensitive adhesives.

Type of AdhesiveRole of Gelatin
Water-Based AdhesivesEnhances binding strength, flexibility, and moisture balance
Hot Melt AdhesivesFacilitates quick setting, temperature resistance, and better adhesion
Pressure-Sensitive AdhesivesBoosts stickiness, conformability, and longevity

3.  Case Studies: Gelatin Success Stories in the Adhesive Industry

Gelatin has proven to be a versatile and effective ingredient with a wide range of applications, including adhesives. In this section, we will explore real-life examples of gelatin success stories in the adhesive industry, showcasing the benefits and innovative solutions that gelatin brings to adhesive formulations.

3.1 Gelatin in Bookbinding: A Historical Success Story

Gelatin has long been a staple in the bookbinding industry, tracing back to as early as the 16th century. In the case of the well-known British publisher, Oxford University Press (OUP), they have been known to use gelatin-based adhesives for their hardcover books. Gelatin is used to create a durable binding that can withstand the opening and closing of books over a long period of time.

1.  The OUP uses gelatin-based adhesive for its robustness and longevity.

2.  The adhesive, when applied, seeps into the fibers of the paper, creating a strong bond that lasts for decades.

3.  Gelatin-based adhesive also ensures flexibility, an essential attribute for any bookbinding adhesive.

3.2 Gelatin in Packaging Adhesives: A Modern Success Story

In the modern packaging industry, gelatin is making waves due to its strong adhesive properties and environmental benefits. The Coca-Cola Company, for instance, has been experimenting with gelatin-based adhesives for its packaging.

1.  Coca-Cola uses gelatin adhesives for bonding paper and cardboard in its packaging.

2.  The adhesion strength provided by gelatin is suitable for securing heavy loads, such as canned beverages.

3.  Gelatin-based adhesives are biodegradable and align with Coca-Cola's commitment to sustainability.

3.3 Gelatin in Specialty Craft Adhesives: A Niche Success Story

In the craft industry, gelatin has been successfully used to produce adhesives for various applications. A noteworthy example is Elmer's, a popular brand known for its crafting supplies, which has a range of gelatin-based glues.

1.  Elmer's gelatin-based glues are popular for their strong binding ability, suitable for materials like paper, fabric, and leather.

2.  The clear-drying characteristic of gelatin adhesives adds to the aesthetics of the crafts.

3.  These adhesives are safe to use, non-toxic, and washable, making them a favorite choice among craft enthusiasts.

3.4 Gelatin in Construction Adhesives: An Emerging Success Story

Gelatin is also making its mark in the construction industry. For instance, a company called Jowat Adhesives has developed a gelatin-based adhesive for construction applications.

1.  Jowat Adhesives uses gelatin in its adhesive for bonding insulation panels and other construction materials.

2.  The adhesive provides excellent thermal and acoustic insulation properties.

3.  Gelatin’s compatibility with a wide range of materials and its resistance to moisture and heat make it a suitable choice for construction adhesives.

4.  The Advantages of Gelatin in Adhesive Manufacturing

4.1 Enhancing Adhesive Performance

The inherent properties of gelatin, including its binding strength and flexibility, make it an excellent candidate for adhesive manufacturing.

1.  Binding Strength: Gelatin's protein structure, rich in amino acids, provides a strong bond that holds together even under stress. This makes gelatin-based adhesives suitable for a range of applications, from binding books to securing heavy loads in packaging.

2.  Flexibility: The gelatin molecule, when hydrated, forms a gel that is both strong and flexible. This unique property allows gelatin-based adhesives to maintain their adhesive properties even under varying conditions, such as changes in temperature or humidity.

3.  Versatility: Gelatin's compatibility with a wide range of materials, from paper to metals, makes it a versatile choice for adhesive manufacturing.

4.2 Environmental and Health Benefits

Gelatin's environmental and health advantages over synthetic adhesives are significant.

1.  Biodegradability: As a natural product derived from collagen, gelatin is biodegradable. This makes gelatin-based adhesives a more environmentally friendly option compared to petroleum-based adhesives, which can contribute to pollution.

2.  Non-Toxicity: Gelatin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, gelatin-based adhesives pose minimal risk to human health, making them a safe choice for applications like craft supplies.

3.  Sustainability: Gelatin is derived from the by-products of the meat and leather industries, which means its production contributes to the efficient use of resources and waste reduction.

4.3 Economic Considerations

From an economic perspective, gelatin provides several benefits for adhesive manufacturers.

1.  Cost-Effectiveness: Gelatin is a cost-effective raw material for adhesive manufacturing. Its high yield and efficient production process translate into lower costs for manufacturers.

2.  Market Demand: With increasing consumer awareness about environmental issues and demand for non-toxic products, the market for gelatin-based adhesives is growing. Manufacturers that offer such products can potentially access new markets and increase their revenue.

3.  Regulatory Compliance: As a natural and non-toxic substance, gelatin is less likely to be subject to strict regulations compared to synthetic adhesives. This can simplify the regulatory compliance process and reduce associated costs for manufacturers.

5.  Navigating Challenges in Gelatin Application in the Adhesive Industry

5.1 Addressing Formulation Challenges

Despite the numerous advantages of gelatin in adhesive manufacturing, there are certain challenges that need to be addressed in the formulation process.

1.  Solubility and Drying Time: Gelatin is water-soluble, which is advantageous for certain applications but can also present challenges. For instance, the drying time of gelatin-based adhesives may be longer than that of synthetic adhesives. This could potentially slow down manufacturing processes or limit the use of gelatin in applications where quick drying is required.

2.  Temperature Sensitivity: Gelatin's properties can change with temperature, which can affect the performance of the adhesive. Manufacturers need to take into account the intended use of the adhesive and the conditions it will be exposed to when formulating with gelatin.

3.  Formulation Expertise: The successful incorporation of gelatin in adhesives requires expertise in handling this unique material. For instance, the gelatin needs to be properly hydrated and mixed with other ingredients to achieve optimal adhesive properties.

5.2 Overcoming Regulatory and Sustainability Issues

In addition to formulation challenges, there are also regulatory and sustainability issues that need to be navigated when using gelatin in adhesive manufacturing.

1.  Regulatory Compliance: Even though gelatin is generally considered safe, manufacturers still need to comply with the relevant regulations for adhesives in their specific region or country. This may include proving the safety of the adhesive for its intended use and meeting labeling requirements.

2.  Sourcing and Sustainability: While gelatin is derived from renewable resources, the sourcing of these resources must be done responsibly. Manufacturers need to ensure that their gelatin suppliers adhere to ethical and sustainable practices, such as humane animal treatment and environmental stewardship.

3.  Consumer Perception: Some consumers may have concerns about the use of animal-derived products like gelatin. Manufacturers need to communicate the benefits of gelatin-based adhesives effectively to overcome any potential consumer resistance.

In conclusion, in the vast landscape of adhesive manufacturing, gelatin has emerged as a potent and versatile ingredient transforming the industry. However, as with any ingredient, its use comes with specific challenges. From formulation complexities like solubility issues and temperature sensitivity to regulatory compliance and sustainability considerations, manufacturers must be prepared to navigate these hurdles. The combination of performance enhancement, environmental benefits, and potential cost savings makes it an attractive proposition for adhesive manufacturers. With more research and innovation, the future of gelatin in this industry is not just sticky; it's promising.

Get the latest prices

Since launching in April of 2014, Reiheychem now manages additive supplier work for more than 120+ clients in 30+ countries. We'd love for you to join!
NO.999, qianshan Road, Hefei City,Anhui Province,China
(+86) 15249926606
Inquiry form