Adhesives are an important part of many industrial endeavors that require steady support systems in unsteady environments. The most important aspect of a reliable adhesive is its ability to maintain a strong bond between two substances; however, different conditions offer different obstacles that threaten to break a bond. Therefore, when purchasing an adhesive product, it is important to look first at the conditions of your application. Adhesives offer various advantages and disadvantages based on their material characteristics such as chemical composition, physical form, classification, or load bearing capability. While some varieties form stronger bonds, others are more resistant to environmental extremes like high temperatures. This blog will explore different types of adhesives used in industrial operations and how to know which product you should purchase.
The first differentiating factor among adhesives that this blog will explore is their available physical forms. For example, pastes and liquids are spreadable forms of adhesives that do not take specific shapes. They are easy to apply but often require additional tools, such as a caulking gun. Pastes are often high in viscosity, making them harder to spread than liquid alternatives; however, the lower viscosity of liquid pastes makes them more susceptible to leaking or sagging. The other two forms of adhesives, films and pellets, are solid upon purchase. Films are strips of materials that function as tape and offer one-part adhesion. Pellets are solid pieces of adhesive material that form bonds when melted and are applied to the surface before cooling.
For the adhesives that form bonds through a process, such as the cooling process, there are different classifications based on which process they rely on. Films have no pot-life restrictions, meaning their bonds form in a single moment of application; however, non-solid adhesives form bonds in multiple parts. For instance, thermosetting adhesives form bonds slowly over time as the two part mixture hardens. A thermosetting adhesive with a long pot life is ideal because it means that the desired reaction will not complete too quickly, allowing more time for use. Furthermore, these adhesives should be stored at lower temperatures, as high temperatures expedite the reaction.
A second type of process is the hot melt process by which adhesives melt under heat and solidify to form the bonds. If a hot melt adhesive is reactive, it forms additional bonds during the cooling process, creating stronger adhesion and higher resistance to moisture, heat, and chemicals. If a hot melt adhesive is not reactive, it simply forms the bond once it has cooled into a solid polymer. Hot melt adhesives are relatively safe, eco friendly, and long lasting. The remaining two classifications of adhesive bond processes are pressure sensitive and contact bonds. Pressure sensitive adhesives are often low modulus elastomers, meaning they are easy to remove and have the benefit of working on wet surfaces. Contact bonds form when the adhesive dissolves and leaves the two surfaces bonded together.
Lastly, adhesives can be categorized by load-bearing capabilities, or, in other words, their ability to hold different substances together in different settings. The three categories are structural, non-structural, and semi-structural. Structural adhesives are the best overall for many industrial applications because they are strong when used under their glass transition temperature (Tg), which is the temperature at which polymer transitions into a soft and rubbery material. Non-structural adhesives are less durable and are often used as secondary support to a main adhesive. Semi-structural adhesives fall in between the reliability levels of the two aforementioned categories. They are ideal for less critical applications, as they still offer more strength and support than non-structural adhesives.
Depending on your project, different types of adhesives offer a wide range of benefits, so it is important to fully understand the way adhesives are categorized for ideal use. At Stacked Industrials, we are owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we have access to an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard to find parts from top manufacturers. We are your purchasing partner for adhesives, sealants, and various other reliable parts, so get started by filling out an RFQ form today and expect a custom quote within 15 minutes! For any other questions, we encourage you to reach out via phone or email at any time, as we have a team of experts working around the clock 24/7x365 to handle the logistics so you can focus on what you do best!
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