At the recent 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, research scientists described the development of soy-based glues that could translate to a new generation of green wood adhesives used in flooring, furniture and cabinets.

The new adhesives contain soy flour, along with a water-resistant additive and some modifiers. “Several technologies and environmental factors have led to a resurgence of protein, especially soy flour, as an important adhesive for interior plywood and wood flooring,” said Charles Frihart, Ph.D., a research chemist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisc.

While soy-based adhesives currently make up less than 5 percent of the wood adhesive market, Frihart expects their use to increase. The new adhesives do not produce formaldehyde vapors, he noted. The Forest Service is developing the adhesives in partnership with Ashland Hercules and Heartland Resource Technologies.