Different Industrial Adhesives and Their Applications
There are a large number of Industrial Adhesives types for various applications. They may be classified in a variety of ways depending on their chemistries (e.g. epoxies, polyurethanes, polyimides), their form (e.g. paste, liquid, film, pellets, tape), their type (e.g. hot melt, reactive hot melt, thermosetting, pressure sensitive, contact, etc.), or their load carrying capability (structural, semi-structural, or non-structural).
Structural adhesives refer to relatively strong adhesives that are normally used well below their glass transition temperature, an important property for polymeric materials, above which polymers are rubbery and below which they are glassy. Common examples of structural adhesives include epoxies, cyanoacrylates, and certain urethanes and acrylic adhesives. Such adhesives can carry significant stresses, and lend themselves to structural applications.
For many engineering applications, semi-structural (applications where failure would be less critical) and non-structural (applications of facades, etc. for aesthetic purposes) are also of significant interest to the design engineer, and provide cost-effective means required for assembly of finished products. These include contact adhesives where a solution or emulsion containing an elastomeric adhesive is coated onto both adherends, the solvent is allowed to evaporate, and then the two adherends are brought into contact. Examples include rubber cement and adhesives used to bond laminates to countertops.
Pressure sensitive adhesives are very low modulus elastomers which deform easily under small pressures, permitting them to wet surfaces. When the substrate and adhesive are brought into intimate contact, van der Waals forces are sufficient to maintain the contact and can provide relatively durable bonds for lightly loaded applications.
Pressure sensitive industrial adhesives are normally purchased as tapes or labels for non-structural applications, although they can also come as double-sided foam tapes which can be used in semi-structural applications.
As the name implies, hot melts become liquid when heated, wetting the surfaces and then cooling into a solid polymer. These industrial adhesives are increasingly used in a wide array of engineering applications using more sophisticated versions of the glue guns widely used by consumers.
Anaerobic adhesives cure within narrow spaces deprived of oxygen. Such industrial adhesives have been widely used in mechanical engineering applications to lock bolts or bearings in place. Cure in other adhesives may be induced by exposure to ultraviolet light or electron beams, or may be catalyzed by certain materials such as water which are ubiquitous on many surfaces.
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