As we start a new year, it's a time for introspection. Now, more than any other time, we take stock of our lives.

Some of us entered the adhesives and sealants industry with our goals firmly in place by studying in specialized curricula such as those provided by the Center for Adhesive and Sealant Science at Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Va. Others adopted this industry (or it adopted us) based on studying various types of chemistry; specializing in polyurethanes, epoxies, silicones or other families of polymers and rubbers; or working in operations or with computers. Our talents are varied and many.

Many of us are carving out a decent living in this industry. And rightly so. We should be rewarded for the improvements we bring to the quality of life around us.

Having just finished sending out my Christmas cards, the unpleasant chore of licking stamps was almost forgotten. This is just one example of how pressure sensitive adhesives have changed our lives.

Other applications for adhesives have come to my attention these past few weeks. In no way do they represent the entire industry, but they do show its diversity and creativity.

The Oct./Nov. 2001 issue of Illinois Alumni covers a synthetic material that mimics how the human body heals itself. According to the article, when a crack forms on a polymer, capsules within it break apart and release a liquid healing agent that reacts with a built-in catalyst to seal the crack. The healing agent "initiates a chemical reaction, which leads to the solidification of that liquid, and it glues the crack closed," says project leader Scott R. White, a UI professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

The medical arena is another intriguing area for adhesive developments. According to researchers at the Biomaterials Research Unit, Aston University, Birmingham, U.K., there has been growing interest in skin adhesive hydrogels for use in areas such a biomedical electrodes, wound dressings, transdermal drug delivery and biosensors. The role of the polymer structure in controlling both water binding and viscoelastic properties of the gel are essential elements of the understanding and design of skin adhesive hydrogels.

Rohm and Haas Co., Philadelphia, has just solved a problem for the food packaging industry with a new line of low-monomer adhesives. Because ROBONDTSF 3000 series adhesives are based on aromatic isocyanate chemistry, their unique formulation dramatically lowers the risk of primary aromatic amine formation to levels not possible with conventional adhesives. Primary aromatic amines are of continuing concern to regulatory agencies and the public for their potential to migrate from packaging materials into foodstuffs.

Our magazine has many more examples of the value you as part of this industry bring to our society.

A New Logo for ASI

You probably have noticed the new logo on this month's cover. We've been calling ourselves ASI for convenience, so we thought we'd make it official. Our mission, however, hasn't changed: to serve the global formulator, manufacturer and end user of adhesives and sealants.