Adhesives are just one of many substances which, when applied between two surfaces, will bond or seal them securely. More commonly referred to as glue, adhesives fall into two categories: natural and artificial. Generally, most modern adhesives are artificial, but various natural glues have been around for hundreds of years.
Synthetic adhesives offer a wide range of advantages over natural adhesives, including consistency, bond strength, and adaptability. Today, adhesives are made from a variety of carefully-engineered chemical substances. As such, they are usually organized based on the adhesion methods they utilize.
Apart from their adhesive characteristics, adhesives are also defined as reactive or non-reactive in nature. This simply refers to whether an adhesive undergoes a chemical reaction to harden. Some of the most common types of adhesives include epoxy, silicone, and acrylic, and the best choice between all will depend on the application in question.
Advantages of Adhesives
Using an adhesive is advantageous when compared to alternative joining techniques like sewing, thermal bonding, and mechanical fastening. Their primary benefits are as follows:
They are able to distribute stress evenly across joints.
They can bond a wide variety of surfaces together.
They are inexpensive and easy to install.
They provide a sleek and smooth bond.
They offer greater design freedom.
How Adhesives Work
While the science behind glue is still not fully understood despite being around for over 200,000 years, it is clear that it provides an effective means of binding things together. This bond involves the interplay of two natural forces: cohesion and adhesion. Cohesion is the tendency of a substance to stick together, whereas adhesion is the tendency of a substance to stick to another substance. That being said, it is not enough for glue to stick to a surface; it must also be self-adhesive so it does not shear off under pressure or weight.
There are two forms of bonding, those of which are mechanical and chemical bonding. Mechanical bonding is the most common form of adhesion due to its simplicity. In this type of bonding, the bond formed between the adhesive and surface(s) happens when the adhesive gets into the tiny pores on the material to hold the two together. Chemical bonding, on the other hand, occurs when adhesives bond with surfaces at a molecular level. This process can be compared to the process that takes place when atoms bond together to produce molecular structures like H2O.
Modern adhesives fall into three broad categories, those of which include solvent-based, water-based, and polymer-based adhesives.
Different Types of Adhesives
There are a myriad of adhesives on the market, ranging from household brands to highly-specialized products for industrial use. In this section, we will be outlining some of the most popular.
Other Common Types:
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