October 7, 2013

October Corn Products Spotlight: Glue

Every project goes smoother with Elmer's!
As we move closer to the holiday season there is one thing that every elementary student will need—that item is glue. Take a second and think back to your younger years, they most likely included paper pumpkins, Thanksgiving turkeys made from a cut out of your hand, and Christmas ornaments decorating the classroom….all of these crafts require glue. What you might not know is that corn is an essential piece of making that glue affordable.

There are a few different types of glue, and after doing some research, I discovered that each type contained corn! To collect all the facts I first started by looking up the official definition of glue. Adhesive; more commonly known as glue, is any substance that binds surfaces together and resists separation. I started thinking about all the different uses for adhesives and then I wondered, where do we get all that resin? As it turns out we don’t use that much resin, instead we use corn.

The process goes like this. After oil is extracted from the corn germ, scientists have found a way to make glue from corn germ. It was first tested in 2008 by chemist Milagros Hojilla-Evangelista. She sprayed the corn germ glue on the surface of a 12X12 inch piece of southern pine and then put another piece of pine on top, heated the glue to industry standards, and waited to see the results. Her findings proved that corn germ could be used to develop glue that has the same viscosity as industrial glue. This discovery has lead to the addition of corn germ to industrial glue which makes industrial adhesives even stronger. It has also been discovered that you can add corn germ to what I would refer to as “regular glue”, more commonly known as Elmer’s Glue, thereby reducing the amount of resin needed in the glue. This means with the addition of corn germ, your glue stays at a lower price.

Chemist Milagros Hojilla-Evangelista.
To wrap up my newly found obsession with adhesive, I will say this. The next time you are out buying a bottle of glue before the school year starts, or even buying certain brands of hair spray, you can thank a farmer for growing a product that helps you cut costs on adhesives.

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