Types of Adhesives

Published on: Mar 21 2011 by Zaheer

An adhesive is a substance that causes adhesion. In other words, we can say that an adhesive is a substance whose sole purpose is to provide a strong bond between two or more surfaces. Adhesives can either be structural or non-structural in nature. Structural adhesives are designed to hold up heavy loads while non-structural don’t meant for supporting heavy loads. Adhesives come in many different forms, e.g. they can be liquid, paste, granular, film, or fabric backed. Adhesives are also organic or non-organic.

Adhesives are used to join together different sort of materials. You can use adhesives for bonding plastic, wood, metal, stone, paper, and glass, ceramic and so on. However, an important point which you need to bear in mind is the selection of adhesive. This is really important as different materials require different type of adhesives to provide strong bond. For this reason adhesives are usually formed in a way to suit a particular material.

You will be surprised to know that there are over 10,000 different types of adhesives. Majority of the adhesives are used for household purposes. Adhesives used for residential applications are also of different types. Some are designed for general usage and other are designed for specific usage.

Adhesives become really handy when you are doing some repair work in home such as renovation or remodeling. It is important to have a good idea about different types of adhesives and their uses. Following are given some of the common types of adhesives along with their features and uses.

Acyrlic Adhesives: These are the adhesives which are designed for quick waterproof bonding on glass, metal and other household material. These adhesives come in liquid and powder part which are mixed together to form a paste which is then apply on the two surfaces which are required to be bonded. You can use different means to apply this paste on the surfaces such as brush wood strip, putty knife etc. Some of the popular brand names include Miracle Mender Glue, Devcon Plastic Sealer, 3 Ton Adhesive and Weather Ban Acrylic Sealant. Acetone, 3M Natural Cleaner and a citrus-based cleaner can be used to remove the adhesive.

Bolt-Locking Compound: As the name suggest, this is designed specially for locking bolts and screws threads to avoid leak, corrosion, looseness. Some of the popular brands are Scotch-Weld Epoxy Adhesive, Perma-Lok, Pronto Instant Bond and Loctite. These compounds are normally methacrylate-based liquids used prior to and subsequent to assembly.  You can remove this compound with warm, soapy water before it gets hard. Once it gets harden, you can use acetone.

Casein Glue: It is waterproof glue that is composed of skim milk and common chemicals. Conventionally, this glue is used to bond different parts of furniture together. It is still used to repair the antique furniture. This glue is extremely effective with oil woods such as teak and rosewood. However, this glue is more prone to fungus and mold. You can remove this glue with warm water.

Carpenter’s Glue:Some of the popular brands are Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue and Titebond. Contrary to traditional white glues, these are yellow in color. The major difference between the white glue and yellow glue lies in their setting up time. Carpenter’s yellow glue set up the bond in one hour time while the white glue takes up to 8 hours to give strong bond. Carpenter’s glue is not waterproof. To have good results leave the surfaces intact for a night.

Cellulose Adhesive: Some of the popular brands include China Weld, Ambroid and Duco Cement. These are highly effective in bonding the pieces of china, glass, wood, model kits, and fabrics. These adhesives are water-resistant and are available in a tube or can form. It sets up the surfaces up to 60% strength within two hours, while maximum strength can be achieved in two days. Acetone or nail polish remove can be used to remove it.

Contact Cement: It is widely used for the surfaces where clamping is not workable such as fixing tiles or for laminated plastic countertop work. The popular brands are 3M Contact Cement, LePage’s Household Cement, Pres-Tite, and Elmer’s SAF-T. A roller or brush is used to apply a coat on the surfaces which need to be bonded. Then, the surfaces are allowed to dry for some time and then pressed against each other tightly. Acetone and 3M Natural Cleaner are good solvent.

Cyanoacrylate: These are water-resistant acrylic resins used to band the surfaces together in quick time. It sets up in just 30 seconds and strengthens in 30 minutes up to 12 hours depending on the nature of the surfaces. The popular brands are Super Glue, Krazy Glue and Wonder Bond Plus. It is effective for rubber, plastic, ceramics, vinyl and wood. It is preferred because of its quick strengthening time. However, care should be taken while using these adhesives as they can cause skin allergy or asthma if come in contact with the skin or inhaled. It can also affect the eyes as well. To remove, acetone is used.

Epoxy Glue: Epoxy glue is a type of adhesive used at surfaces where strong bonds are needed. These adhesives work well for glass, wood, plastics (some types), metal and stone. These are available in different forms, i.e. from flexible to rigid and from fast setting to slow setting. These adhesives are known to have high tolerance against heat and chemical. The most characteristic feature of these adhesives is their ability to bond two different materials together, e.g. aluminum to plexiglass. Epoxy adhesives come in two parts, i.e. epoxide ‘resin’ and polyamine ‘hardener’, which are mixed together to form a paste which is then applied to the surfaces which need to be bonded together. These are water-resistant and acetone is used to remove these adhesives. Some popular brands are Elmer’s Epoxy Glue, Scotch-Weld, Cold Cure Epoxy, and Super Glue Plastic Fusion Epoxy.

Hot Melt Glue: It is a kind of thermoplastic adhesive that is available in solid cylindrical sticks. These sticks are melted in an electric hot glue gun. It works well for leather, fabrics, ceramics tiles, furniture and carpeting. The most popular brands are Thermogrip and 3M Jet Melt. It is quite fast to set, to say in just 5 seconds and strengthen in about 1 minute. Acetone is used to remove this glue.

Liquid Solder: It works well for aluminum, iron, and other metals, especially to repair leakage and bonding sheet metal seams. However, this liquid soldering is not workable for electrical soldering. The major examples of liquid soldering include Permatex, Liquid Steel and Scotch-Seal Metal Sealant. It is available in both tube and can form. To achieve better results, make certain that both the surfaces are free from any dust or corrosion. It will take almost twenty-four hours to give strong bond.

Polyurethane Adhesives: These adhesives are water resistant and work well for both indoor and outdoor repair work. These can be used to bond wood, metal, drywall, concrete, painted surface, brick, fiberglass and ceramics. It is available in the market under the name Gorilla Glue or Excel. Whenever you use this adhesive, make this certain that the surfaces are properly clasped because this adhesive tend to expand during the settling process, eventually filling up the gaps and cracks. It takes six to twenty-four hours before curing up completely.

Polyvinyl Acetate: Commonly known as PVA glue or white glue, is conventional white glue used for residential applications such as ceramics, paper, woodwork etc. Popular brand names are as Elmer’s Glue-All, LePage’s Bondfast, GF Glue, Titebond Original Wood Glue, etc. It takes eight to twenty-four hours before it cures completely.

Resorcinol: This is a type of adhesive which is designed for woodworking. It also comes in two parts which are combined to make an adhesive paste which is then applied to wood surfaces to achieve strong bonds such as wooden boats, outdoor furniture etc. Popular brands are Weldwood Plastic Resin Glue, Scotchgrip Plastic Adhesive or AeroDux 500. It is important to take special care while dealing with such adhesives to avoid injuries.


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