Non-toxic, natural, cheap and WATER-PROOF adhesive or glue, is this impossible?

I'm a quality engineer working for a company in Turkey, the company collects the coaldust ( powder form of the coal )  from all the cities of Turkey and makes them briquettes by pressing with very powerful machines. Of course we use some adhesives for mechanical strength of the briquettes. We use CMC (a kind of cellulose) and this material is soluable in water. So our briquettes are not very durable under rain or moisture. Now I have to change the binder or adhesive materials in order to produce waterproof briquettes. I dont know how it's possible. I have to use nontoxic natural materials, and cheap as well. Last week I tried to do something but we were unlucky maybe.
I tried to use Technical Gelatin and Alum (Al. Sulphate ) together, the briquettes seemed very good after production but they were not durable when I left them in a cup of water. So I have to find a solution now. Can you help me about that? I'd be very pleased. Thanks.

sort by: active | newest | oldest
johnyradio5 days ago

Does this help? Different kind of glue, but might work:

"Collagen glue can be modified with a wide variety of additives. To make it more waterproof the addition of 1% by weight of alum(aluminum sulfate) or formaldehyde is effective."

BillD81 year ago

perhaps you might experiment with the type of glue used for children's arts and crafts?
these tend to have no, or little odour, tend to be non-toxic, (check to see if this is the case when they are burned, but i suspect they will be safe) and they tend to not be expensive.

some people here have mentioned sugar, but sugar can be very dangerous in a fire situation, and produces fumes which my not be too good for people. it is also combustible to a very high temperature.
children's arts and crafts glue tends to go through very rigorous testing, so much of the work may already be done for you.
you may only need to test it for dangerous fumes when it burns.
many of these children's glues are water poof.

no payment required. i am happy to share

BillD8 BillD81 year ago

further more.
animal fats and vegetable oils, when burned, produce too much soot.
so briquettes being used in industry, the soot may damage or clog up machinery.

BillD8 BillD81 year ago

perhaps look at the P.V.A. family of glue?

LoveY31 year ago

soak/rub in lard-animal fat-and let it dry

the fat/lard is water proof almost and is like glue and burns and is natural and available

so soak the coal in vegtable oil then in a melted lard but before the lard soak it in melted sugar its like glue

salamyour dua and if iit works then payment whenever its possible dear

BillD8 LoveY31 year ago

these are NOT good ideas, and vegetable oil and animal fats and oils are not non-toxic. they choke you when burned and produce a heavy blue smoke which stings your eyes.

also, the smell is not good.

that is why not many cultures use animal and vegetable oils and fats for burning in lamps any more.

they stink worse than the coal dust in the briquettes (which has a more comforting smoke odour)

LoveY31 year ago

soak into melted sugar and non water soluble ash repeat that at least twice and let it dry then check the results and make dua and try to give some money later ok this I think will work inshaAllah.

MaanB1 year ago

To bond saw dust you must use an adhesive which is PVA based.You can opt for a better quality or a cheap grade PVA based adhesive.Then you must mix a solution of Powdered Ester Gum resin + Toluene into the PVA adhesive mixture and you are done with your purpose.

Have you tried mixing cement (as used in mortar) with the coal dust? That is commonly used in the UK where the weather is very damp and our brickettes are not affected by the rain.

In my perusing for natural products I ran across a description of Tung Oil- it dries,may prevent water from absorbing into the individual pieces of coal, and carnauba wax may hold the thing together. I'm assuming something was found that worked... .but dearly curious as I would like to find a clear adhesive I can make at home that will work for my kids as a replacement to plastic...

arikira2 years ago

Instead of selling your clients coal in ANY format, why not manufacture and sell your clients an alternative heat/energy source? Coal is extremely dirty as an energy source. The burning of coal for manufacturing and electricity generation is the #1 cause of climate change, which is already having catastrophic effects for many regions of the world which are undergoing vast changes in local weather patterns. For the moment, coal is cheap to use as an energy source but very soon (if not already) alternative fuels are even cheaper, and coal will soon become expensive because use restrictions will cause lack of popularity which in turn will result in scaled back coal mining and production.

ashrafollow2 years ago


I like to suggest u go for sodium silicate based adhesive for which i think will suit ur application as well ur budget also and no matter u can formulate this adhesive with ur self also no in what quantity the problem is water proof/resistance.

for i can help with full guarantee but who will pay me and how much the base of product will sodium silicate but achieve the waterproof properties contact i will tell chemical reaction process which will make them 100% guaranteed me rashraf @outlook dot com

rickharris7 years ago
Consultants normally get paid fro their expertise!! :-)

Have you tried starch and then heating the briquette to set the starch - although not fully water proof it should be fairly robust.

Alternatively coat the outside with an oil or wax to water proof and continue to use your old filler.

enisdogru (author)  rickharris7 years ago
I promise to pay you a good money if u find the solution :)
Starch doesnt let us to produce fully waterproof coals unfortunately..
And I have to say that, coating isnt a good solution because when the briquettes rub to each other OR break off after the coating process, the wax coating will not run.

Could you include some shellac sprayed as mist over dust, then use same binder as before? Shellac is natural and is very water resistant. I believe it is flammable also. You can buy the shellac flakes then soak in alcohol and spray. They dry sticky. You could just spray over briquets after, but this way will allow clumps, so only small amount of briquet wash away before exposing more shellac. Or, alternative is to use combination beeswax and pine pitch. Beeswax used in candles, little scent, waterproof, sticks well enough. Make briquets of charcoal and beeswax mixed when wax is liquid, form into shape. Problem: is waterproof but low melting point (unlike carnauba) so good for rainy season but not good for summer sun.

You might try casein

extract from encyclopaedia Britannica


"This product is made by dissolving casein, a protein obtained from milk, in an aqueous alkaline solvent. The degree and type of alkali influences product behaviour. In wood bonding, casein glues generally are superior to true animal glues in moisture resistance and ageing characteristics. Casein also is used to improve the adhering characteristics of paints and coatings".


Cascamite is a commercial resin based glue that whilst it will not survive immersion fro any time it is considered water resistant.

It is a very strong but brittle glue where the glued produce will absorb the glue.

In general natural glues that would be suitable for burning wouldn't be water proof: Starch - Animal glues etc - Polymers which would be water proof will give off noxious fumes when burned.

enisdogru (author)  rickharris7 years ago
I think casein is suitable for us, I heard about it before but after a bit of research casein based glues were too expensive to use with coaldust. 2 points to be considered now:
1-) I cant find and buy tons of casein glue for "very cheap" per month. So I'm trying to find a way to obtain casein from the waste products of milk or cheese factories easily.

2-) Would the casein be strong enough to repel water molecules?
Yes casein can be made from Milk. Adding an acid - Vinegar will do - will precipitate the casein - the acid is then neutralised with a base - Bicarbonate of soda will work t make the casein clump up and be more sticky - Some experimentation may be required.

It isn't totally waterproof but is very water resistant. Couple that with a spray of veggi oil and you should have a product.

I await payment!! :-)

A bit of research shows that briquettes are usually bound with cement - ?? Certainly waterproof.

I know this is pretty late, but if you bind the coal the normal way and just spray coat them in a flammable, but water resistant coating, that should be sufficient. Only the outside really needs to repel the water right? Also, if you go ahead and seal small single use portions (like in 2kg increments) in heat sealed plastic sachets, then you will avoid getting very much wet at a time, and you will have a more user friendly product. Best of luck with that man.

PinoyMaker5 years ago
Yup Tree sap will pretty much suffice as a binder/adhesive. It just has to be dried well to reduce the "stickiness" and retain its form

Moisture problem:
Well depends on how long the briquettes are going to be stored before use. if its used almost as soon as its made then packaging would be simple enough. but if its going to be stored for longer periods a sealed plastic (not necessarily vacuum-sealed) might be in order. just to keep moisture away while in storage.

And yeah wax would actually prevent moisture absorption.

organic adhesive
organic waterproofing
i would say it is but it must be a non newtonian fluid thats adhesive or could freeze at high temperature it is possible but the reality of it being created in the next 24 hours is 0000.1% so maybe try resin (if you are able to get enough), some kind of cheap wax or a combination
the higher the temperature(I'm talking outside air temperature) the better the pine sap will flow.
Example: pine sap will flow better(faster, easier, etc) when it is 100 degrees outside as opposed to being 80 degrees outside.

So if there are conifers in Turkey(and I'm sure there is somewhere-never been there) you should have zero problem tapping conifers for sap.

Coincidentally, there are very few, if any, conifer trees that do NOT produce acceptable amounts of sap.

Conifers = spruce, pine & fir trees.
if you used liquid nitrogdegn on something or maybe if you put thermite on it
both won'T work work as liquid nitrogen would only cool it... thermite is a mixture of alluminum and ironoxids with no adhesive function and igniting it produces molten iron...
yes but it produces plenty of it and while it molten iron before it has hardend you could store it in a high high temperature room where it whould stay a liquid
the ONLY place you will find a room hot enough to store liquid or molten iron, is inside a steel mill....and then(if my memory serves me correctly) only in a blast furnace. nobody has that kind of money for that....
thermite is only useful for direct usage... and you should read one more time what anisdogru is looking for...
shawneegeek7 years ago
Thats easy... Pine pitch, if you can find it in sufficent quantitys. Pine pitch was used by native americans in the old days to seal the lashings on their birtch bark canoe. The plus side to pine pitch is the oils hold a flame very good, its organic, nontoxic, and it sticks to everything. You derrive pine pitch by boiling down pine sap to remove the "slag" or debris. The end result, natures own glue. But nothing is really waterproof, water being the universal solvent and all, and given enough time, the pitch will break down too... but it should hold long enough for what you need.
funny that you call water the ultimate solvent, as many (maybe most?) organic compounds are insoluble in water. the pinepitch you mentioned is composed of such compounds.
you deny that water is the universal solvent? Im sure anyone with in the chemestry field would disagree. And anyone who had built a traditional birch bark canoe using pine pich to seal the holes will tell you that after only a few months of being in the water the craft will start to leak as the water has washed out the pitch. Its resistance to water, however, is the very reason i sudggested it in the first place...
If your Pine Sap Glue only lasted a few months, then you did not making strong enough or did not make it correctly.

Please understand, I am NOT, I repeat NOT calling you dumb or stupid or anything negative, I'm just saying that it should last a lot longer than a few months.

The best way to make Pine Sap Glue is to grind up charcoal, grind up some plant fibre(horse manure works wonders after it has dried soild) & mix that with melted pine sap. Now Before you use this glue, you need to test it to make certain that it is strong enough for the purpose intended.

There is a good reason why it is called the "Crazy Glue" of the wilderness.
i'll restrain my laughter for a moment as you couldn't know that i'm studying chemistry... but it is just as i sayd... most molecules in pine pitch are non-polar, this makes them rather hard to dissolve in polar fluids like water but easy to dissolve in non-polar fluids like turpentine. you might wont to look up the words 'hydrophile' and 'lipophile'
fuzztanks Arano6 years ago
You seem to be a bit full of yourself. I'm not trying to be rude, but shawneegeek was only trying to help.
Arano fuzztanks6 years ago
you are right and i regret to have it said that way... i shouldnt write when i'm in a bad mood
Well thats ok, because being water resistant is one of the qualities that was needed for this. ... and thats why i refered to it.
according to real life tests in the wilderness of Alaska, Pine Pitch will hold up up in total immersion of water for about 18 months to 2 years...

How many people keep charcoal 18 months to 2 yrs?

Pine Pitch is the "crazy Glue" of the wilderness...there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, you can not use it on while camping, hiking or if you are in a survival situation.
tincanz6 years ago
What about tree sap? There are lots of Ponderosa Pines in my area, and touching a branch will cover your hand in a highly sticky fluid that will only come off with rubbing alcohol and vigorous scrubbing.

If it is pure, it burns pretty cleanly (at least more so than coal).

It is very cheap if you have pines or firs or spruces or junipers around you. Just cut a "V" shape in the trunk, about 6 centimeters across, insert a stick or similar object to the bottom of the "V", and put a container below to collect the fluid.

It doesn't harm the tree if you do it right, and the sap will hold the briquettes' shape unless it is in a very serious stream of water (like a 20 meter waterfall).
Pine pitch(pine sap/pine resin, all the same for the conversation we have here) is a highly flammable substance that would be an excellent marriage to charcoal. It is sticky enough to hold the briquets together, would in no way take away from the charcoal, & would even be better foro the charcoal making it easier to light....PLUS, did he not say it had to be all natural?? Mother Earth provides many things we humans can use without leaving much of a footprint.
dang, you beat me to it. I was going to suggest the same thing. Only I wouldn't have said it in such a smart way. (*insert round of applause here*).
Thank You!
I don't understand, though, how it is said in a "smart way."
tawit6 years ago
Why don't simply cover a pile of the briquette that are being waited for shipment with a plastic sheet? Or, build a permanent roof for it; it'll pay off in itself within a year comparing with other chemical and biological alternatives that have been suggested so far.
bobdole56566 years ago
use wheat paste its sort of water proof like well its used in firworks holding it can be raiend on but not sumerger for longer that 30-45 minets and the more light water the stronger are u going to pic a best anwser
ANDY!6 years ago
What about that stuff mussles make when they stick to rocks?
webby4276 years ago
acidbass6 years ago
caulk, jaycubs ideas and everyone elses or silicone
Jaycub6 years ago
Baked gypsum powder (Plaster of Paris) could also work mabey.
Jaycub6 years ago
The natural glues I know of are boiled fish skin and tree pitch / sap. I think the fish skin could work.
there's this stuff called plasti (or plastic) dip. You can dip something in it to make a bendable rubber type thing. You can get it spray on I think. Also you can try liquid electrical tape. You can get these at home depo.
Paraffin wax. Its safe enough to eat, its insoluble in water, I know it was used in tests at some point as rocket fuel so on some level its flammable, and its inexpensive (I think)
Arano7 years ago
i'd try to use resin (if you are able to get enough), some kind of cheap wax or a combination of both...
aeray7 years ago
Fly ash might be worth considering too, and should be cheap, as it is a waste product. "Fly ash is one of the residues generated in combustion, and comprises the fine particles that rise with the flue gases. Ash which does not rise is termed bottom ash. In an industrial context, fly ash usually refers to ash produced during combustion of coal. Fly ash is generally captured from the chimneys of coal-fired power plants" "In May 2007, Henry Liu, a retired 70-year old American civil engineer, announced that he had invented a new, environmentally sound building brick composed of fly ash and water. Compressed at 4,000 psi and cured for 24 hours in a 150 °F (66 °C) steam bath , then toughened with an air entrainment agent, the bricks last for more than 100 freeze-thaw cycles. Owing to the high concentration of calcium oxide in class C fly ash, the brick can be described as "self-cementing". The manufacturing method is said to save energy, reduce mercury pollution, and costs 20% less than traditional clay brick manufacturing. Liu intends to license his technology to manufacturers in 2008.[22][23] Bricks of fly ash can be made of two types. One type of brick are made mixing it with about equal amount of soil and proceeding through the ordinary process of making brick. This type of formation reduces the use of fertile sand in making bricks. Another type of brick can be made by mixing soil, plaster of paris and fly ash in a definite proportion with water and allowing the mixture to dry. Because it does not need to be heated in a furnace this technique reduces air pollution."
enisdogru (author)  aeray7 years ago
I'll have a look now
afridave7 years ago
perhaps we have all missed something really simple......why not just package it in a waterproof packaging?
enisdogru (author)  afridave7 years ago
I wish you were right :) normally we do that but we also sell coal products to industry. Some big factories require 5000 tons of coal monthly and it's not possible to package all of that amount. the coal birquettes are being stored at the outside of the factory.
Can you treat the CMC to make it waterproof by increasing the polymerisation ?

Try hot wax with polythene dissolved in it.

enisdogru (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
thanks for your suggestions steve...
That'd be a good solution to increase the polymerisation but how is it possible??
Actually If you add some nitric acid to the coaldust, that makes this job; but not possible to use acid with our machines and it's not good for the workers' health as well, you know our workers will breathe the steam of acid :)

Polythene gives off noxious fumes while burning, doesn't it? :)
Nope, polythene burns very cleanly.
enisdogru (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
polythene is plastic, that means you burn nylon.. how can it burn cleanly? try to burn a plastic bag that you can find in your house. and let me know what happens please :))
PLEASE learn some basic chemistry before commenting, or do some research. Polythene is a very simple long chain polymer of carbon and hydrogen. Burning in excess oxygen releases....Carbon dioxide and water.

PVC is also plastic, but contains chlorine, so burning THAT release HCl.

How can wood, a complex composite of lignin, another plastic, "burn cleanly" ?

How can coal "burn cleanly" ?

Clearly, since they BOTH can be burned cleanly, you must be missing something....
.  If you set a chunk of polyethylene (US spelling of polythene) on your lab bench and light it, it will smoke (much like the compressed coal briquettes that you are making). In a firebox. at higher temps and with better air flow than your bench, it burns clean (much like the compressed coal briquettes that you are making). It's just a long-chain hydrocarbon (somewhat like the compressed coal briquettes that you are making).
Didn't realise it was different in the US Nacho.
.  I'm surprised y'all don't stick an extra "u" in there somewhere. :)
.  Hurray for Polythene Pam!
enisdogru (author) 7 years ago
Casein did't work! It's not waterproof, a big scientific lie! :p
aeray7 years ago
As natural as coal, no residue, adds value, and waterproof.
Please let me know when to expect my first royalty check :)
enisdogru (author)  aeray7 years ago
haha you are very clever really just say me how much do you want :p
Tar is natural maybe but it was used nearly 20 years ago in turkey, just as binder..
Now it's forbidden to use tar and pitch by the government, to avoid air-pollution..
Yes there is no residue, all of the fumes and ashes goes to air you breathe :)
aeray aeray7 years ago
Tar-like products can also be produced from other forms of organic matter such as peat. Mineral products resembling tar can be produced from fossil hydrocarbons including petroleum. Coal tar is produced from coal as a byproduct of coke production. Bitumen is a term used for natural deposits of oil "tar" - such as at the La Brea Tar Pits.
afridave7 years ago
just try coating the outside of the briquettes with some kind of a waterproof spray on substance.I know this is not very helpful but im not a chemist
enisdogru (author)  afridave7 years ago
Im nat a chemist as well but we have to find out solutions for the problems of the company we work for :l anyway coating the outside isn't suitable and cheap for our production for now, the solution must be about changing the binder or adding an additive material for water-resistant.
frollard7 years ago
Parrafin wax?
enisdogru (author)  frollard7 years ago
I tried to use paraffin as a binder, but didn't let me to produce strong briquettes, also it's not durable enough under high temperature, so the paraffin melts before the coal burns..
Like I suggested to steve -- use your regular binder, but after the briquettes are complete (and strong) add a spray of wax to coat just the outside. They stay strong and are waterproofed, but do not absorb water.

Only trouble is any waterproof briquette also doesn't absorb starter fluid.
> Only trouble is any waterproof briquette also doesn't absorb starter fluid.
. Paraffin lights pretty easily. Not as easily as starter fluid, but about as well as a candle with almost no wick.
The fact that the wax melts before the coal burns shouldn't be a problem, since you are interested in the waterproof qualities for storage purposes -- if it's no longer waterproof while it's burning, so much the better! Imagine a red hot piece of coal which repels water... you wouldn't be able to put it out with a bucket of water, you'd just make steam!
Fails the "natural" test.
. I guess we have different definitions for "natural" and/or "paraffin wax" in the US. Paraffin wax is a naturally occurring mixture of alkanes (hydrocarbons) that is a by-product of the de-waxing process for lubricating oils.
.  Sounds to me like the stuff would work well, especially if one used a blend with a high melting temperature.
.  Carnauba wax should work very well. Natural, non-toxic (used as a binder for candies, medicinal pills, &c), and water resistant.
. Oops. Carnuaba is not a binder, but is a coating and appearance enhancer.
enisdogru (author)  NachoMahma7 years ago
Natural means the same thing for us yes, but paraffin or wax isn't good as "binder". Melts at very low temperature before the coal burns.
Maybe it works if we can find a wax with a high melting temperature or if we can make it so.
I'll have a look to Carnauba wax but I'm afraid it's not very easy to find it in turkey.
thanks for the message.
even if not a binder, but if applied as a hot spray to the final product.
enisdogru (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
If the binder or adhesive doesn't release a very dark smoke or a very bad smell, passes the natural test :) that's it..
We're not suggesting it as a BINDER, just as a coating afterwards.
Why do you need to be waterproof ?
Indeed, but plentiful, and if they're already working with COAL :) Technically just a processed natural product ;)
enisdogru (author) 7 years ago
Guys the best solution seems like Casein.
I've to seperate casein proteins from milk.
I know that cheese making factories do that, casein proteins and fat are precipitated into solid form in the factory. But I don't know if they use this solid material or not.
If they don't use casein and milk fat which is in that solid form, that's the material I should use :)
lemonie7 years ago

I'll tell you something: where I live a lot of bulks are sold wet, including fuel. The idea being that you can't be overcharged for the moisture, because they're saturated.

They need a cooking and high-pressure.

Kiteman7 years ago
What drives the need for the briquettes to be waterproof?

Are they being used for something other than fuel, or are they being stored out in the open?

enisdogru (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
Yes they are being stored out of the factories in Turkey, so we have to offer fully water-resist briquettes to customers. Customers complains everything everytime :)
In that case, I'd go with a waterproof or water repellent coating.

Here's a thought: spray a couple of briquettes with vegetable oil, leave them a while to soak in, and then stand them outside in the rain.

Vegetable oil is natural, adds to the fuel-value of the briquettes, and should be very easy to apply to a large number of briquettes on a conveyor.

A very good point.
If all you need it is for briquettes to be waterproof then rather than change your production process you could simply add another step by waterproofing them after the manufacturing process is complete.
If this is the case then steveastrouks suggestion of wax would seem to be ideal after all it has worked for the military & boy scouts on matches for decades.
this would also give you the opportunity to include both waterproof & non waterproof briquettes for sale & also remove the need to spend time sourcing a successful adhesive & incorporating it into the existing manufacturing process.
CMC = carboxy-methy-cellulose = wallpaper paste. Can that be crosslinked somehow ?
What an interesting question !

Tree sap ?
Coat the bricquette with wax after production ?