Commercial Adhesives: How Do They Differ?

JessupSafetyTape2Commercial adhesives are frequently used in these industries: aerospace, marine, vehicle, industrial, and architectural. They provide the required bonding qualities to prevent substrates or surfaces from separating. Commercial adhesives come in several forms including:

  • Non-Reactive
  • Reactive
  • Contact
  • Hot
  • Natural
  • Synthetic

It is important to know the differences between available options to ensure the right choice is made. For example, a contact adhesive is a great choice when certain components must be bonded together; however, it is not so great if a reaction occurs with the surface materials. Below you will find a brief explanation of how non-reactive and reactive commercial adhesives are different.

Non-Reactive Commercial Adhesives
Non-reactive choices consist of drying and pressure sensitive commercial adhesives. Solvent-based or polymer dispersion drying options harden without requiring a reaction. Those using solvents consist of several polymers mixed together to dissolve in the present solvent. Hardening occurs as the solvent evaporates and chemical compositions deliver varying strengths. Examples of drying adhesives include:

  • White Glue
  • Contact Adhesives
  • Rubber Cements

Polymer dispersion choices are typically milky white and common for wood working, fabrics, or packaging. Pressure-sensitive commercial adhesives form a bond to the surface when a small amount of pressure is applied. They have enough softness to adhere to the surface, but are also tough enough to withstand applied stress. Pressure-sensitive adhesives may be permanent or removable and the following are common examples of removable bonding choices:

  • Protective Films
  • Masking Tapes
  • Barcode Labels
  • Price Marking Labels
  • Graphic Materials
  • Skin Contact Items

These commercial adhesives may be in a liquid or solid form depending on application requirements and offer several benefits for consumer oriented applications.

Reactive Commercial Adhesives
Reactive commercial adhesives are designed to be multi-part or one-part to provide the desired hardness and durability. Multi-part choices harden by mixing chemically reactive components to cause the polymers to cross-link. These solvent-based or solvent-free choices do not form a bond until the chemical reaction occurs. For example, combinations can include polyester or acrylic polymers and polyurethane resin. Solvent-based options dry during the curing process and serve as a medium for the resins.

One-part adhesives require not only a chemical reaction, but also an external energy source to make everything happen. Energy source examples for this process are radiation, heat, or moisture. Ultraviolet light curing adhesives, for example, have become common because they cure rapidly and have exceptional bonding strength. These commercial adhesives offer a number of benefits in these industries:

  • Electronics
  • Telecommunications
  • Medical
  • Aerospace
  • Glass
  • Optical

Heat curing adhesives offer another option consisting of a pre-made component mixture for reacting as heat is applied. Moisture curing options cure as they are introduced to moisture on the substrate surface or within the air.

Each is suitable for certain bonding purposes, which must be properly evaluated before choosing to use an adhesive as part of your product or safety measures. Some choices will not be suitable for the applied substrate, strength, or required adhesion qualities. It is best to consult with a professional in this area to make certain the right qualities are chosen for your specific bonding needs.

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