Adhesives are substances that, when applied between the surfaces of two or more materials, can be utilized to hold, fasten, or bond them together. The bond strength of the attachment is dependent on the particular adhesive’s properties, those which include adhesion and cohesion. As these properties are the primary mechanisms involved in how adhesives function, determining the failure point of both properties is critical.
In most industries, adhesives are available for permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary attachment purposes. They are often classified by their load carrying capacity, chemical composition, reactivity, inertness, and form. Nonetheless, all adhesives offer different advantages depending on the application at hand. That being said, the next section will cover varying types of adhesives.
Anaerobic adhesives are acrylic-based adhesives that can cure in the absence of air. In fact, it is the presence of metal that accelerates the curing process. Furthermore, anaerobic adhesives have a low viscosity, and they are available in liquid & paste solutions. More than that, they are feasible options for securing, sealing, or retaining close-fitting and structural parts.
Also referred to as “instant glues,” cyanoacrylates are adhesives that cure in the presence of moisture and ultraviolet (UV) light, the most notable type being Krazy Glue. Available in a variety of formulations ranging from low to high viscosity, cyanoacrylates are suitable for porous and non-porous substrates. However, they are not ideal for structural applications as they have low shear strength.
Epoxy Adhesives are available as either single-part or multi-part systems. Demonstrating high shear and peel strength, epoxies are perfect for environments that experience fluctuating temperature extremes. Moreover, they are good choices for gap filling and bonding dissimilar substrates.
Hot glue is considered a type of hot melt adhesive that is derived from thermoplastic compounds. This type of adhesive offers increased levels of tackiness and is compatible for use on porous and non-porous substrates. Additionally, hot adhesive glues solidifies by cooling, but some variants can be cured by the presence of moisture or UV light.
The last type of adhesive is white glue which is a common polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue that is normally employed for arts and crafts purposes, the most popular example being Elmer’s Glue. White glue requires contact and pressure during solidification, and it is suitable for cloth, cardboard, paper, wood, and other porous substrates.
Adhesives vs. Sealants
As adhesives are composed of similar materials, employ similar mechanisms, and are used in similar applications to those of sealants, we must outline their distinctions. While adhesives are utilized to hold, fasten, or bond two or more substrates together, sealants are used to fill the clearances between substrates to create a secure barrier that prevents contaminants and other elements from penetrating the substrates.
It is clear that both substances take advantage of their adhesive characteristics to form secure attachments, but they also make use of their other overlapping qualities. Some of these include composition materials, application and processing requirements, failure mechanisms, substance-to-substrate interactions, and more. That being said, adhesive sealants are also available, those of which perform a combination of their individual functions by offering both strong adhesive and secure sealing properties.
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