Sustainable Triblock Copolymers as Tunable and Degradable Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

HeeJoong Kim, Kailong Jin, Jimin Shim, William Dean, Marc A. Hillmyer, Christopher J. Ellison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are widely used in a variety of applications (e.g., sticky note and packing tape). As for most commercial polymer products, current PSA materials are primarily derived from fossil resources and not readily degradable; this has negative environmental consequences. The design of new PSA materials from sustainable resources that possess competitive adhesion properties and degradability is attractive for addressing sustainability concerns. In this work, we prepared a new aliphatic polyester with a long alkyl substituent, poly(pentadecyl caprolactone) (PPDCL), from cashewnut shell liquid derived lactones by ring opening transesterification polymerization in a controlled fashion. The PPDCL was used as the central block in a symmetric triblock copolymer with poly(lactide) end blocks. A series of ABA triblock copolymers were blended with a renewable tackifier to produce sustainable PSA materials. The resultant PSAs showed competitive adhesion properties with many common commercial adhesives. In addition, the ABA triblock copolymers hydrolytically degraded at 50 °C under acidic conditions suggesting they could be attractive as sustainable and degradable PSA materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12036-12044
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 17 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge our principal funding source, the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota, which is a National Science Foundation supported Center for Chemical Innovation (CHE-1901635). We thank Hussnain Sujjad, Aaron Lindsay, Maggie Lau, Dr. Christoper DeRosa, Dr. Nicholas Hampu, Dr. Guilhem De Hoe, Charles McCutcheon, and Youngsu Shin for experimental support, helpful discussions, and feedback. We also thank Dr. David Giles for help with rheology experiments and his insight regarding DMA of the “necked” PPDCL sample.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • Cashewnut shell liquids
  • Degradable polymers
  • Polyesters
  • Pressure sensitive adhesives
  • Sustainable polymers


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