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Replacing Volatile Organic Solvents in Shoemaking Adhesives

Andy Extance – Oct 19, 2011

In May this year, a leading materials company announced a "green shoe" concept, where no solvent is present in the adhesives used in manufacturing footwear. That's desirable because of health impacts to shoe production workers and people near to footwear factories from solvent emissions. Yet, until recently, that would have been impractical for the heat-activation bonding process used to attach soles and uppers. There, early aqueous adhesives were unable to stand up to the demands of the process. But research on surface preparation and incorporating polyether chains that add terminal hydrophobic groups into aqueous adhesives now mean it's quite feasible to do heat-activation bonding without solvent-borne adhesives.

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