Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, or AIRT for short, have developed a remarkable new adhesive that can solidify (stick) or liquify (unstick) at room temperature with a blast from a UV light.
The glue's secret is that it doesn't form a permanent bond that has to later be broken. Instead, it uses what's called an isomerisation reaction where the molecules' structures are repeatedly re-arranged so they form and unform bonds. And while the glue currently has the sticking power equivalent to double-sided tape, the researchers hope to improve that before commercialising the product.
As for applications? One's mind immediately jumps to how this breakthrogh could make sealing and unsealing envelopes a far more enjoyable process. Instead of licking a dry adhesive, and tearing open an envelope when it arrives, one would simply have to shine a UV flashlight on it allowing it to be re-used again and again.
But its creators have a less imaginative idea in mind, providing a way to temporarily hold something in place during the manufacturing process without leaving residue or requiring much force to remove it. [DigInfoTV]