1. Solving the puzzle of “unsticky” science
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  • Solving the puzzle of “unsticky” science

    By Sue Casement, 3M Storyteller and Eliot Popko, 3M Videographer

    “Trying to understand how the molecules work, why they do what they do, why they don’t do what you sometimes want them to do – it’s one big puzzle. You collect the pieces and try to figure it all out.”

    3M scientist David Kinning unrolls tape

    • A roll of tape. It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of chemistry.

      There’s a staggering amount of science in tape. Not only the adhesive and all the things we expect it to stick to, but what we expect it to NOT stick to. Like its own backing.

    • David Kinning, 3M Corporate Scientist, in his lab

      You probably use tape all the time – wrapping packages, creating art projects, and protecting surfaces from paint – and you may never think about its ingenious design. It can be rolled up, stick to itself and still unpeel without any fuss, thanks to its release coating on the roll between the adhesive and the backing.

      David Kinning, an award-winning 3M corporate scientist, knows a lot of the secrets that go into creating the perfect roll of tape. He’s an expert in the release materials that help your adhesives come unstuck.

      He first fell in love with science when he was in a high school, and his physics teacher made the class fun. “It was the first time I considered science as a career,” he says.

      David continued to find mentors after joining 3M’s Specialty Chemical Division. One of his first managers suggested David look into release materials to find out how they worked.

      “Working with release materials – trying to understand how the molecules work, why they do what they do, why they don’t do what you sometimes want them to do – it’s one big puzzle,” says David. “You collect the pieces and try to figure it all out.”

    “Working with release materials – trying to understand how the molecules work, why they do what they do, why they don’t do what you want them to do.” - David Kinning

    Rolls of tape

    Hear more from David about how he puts the puzzle pieces together to develop new release coatings.

    Learn more

    David has worked across multiple areas of 3M, building an impressive career and improving many products we use every day. But new release coatings have been the focus of much of his work, and the reason 3M inducted him into the Carlton Society – its hall of fame for scientists.