Industries around the world are catching on to the improvements offered by modern structural-grade adhesives. Current structural adhesive bonding techniques have overtaken traditional assembly methods, like rivets and welding, in some of the most critical and sensitive applications because adhesives create a stronger and more durable assembly, offer significant process efficiencies, can bond a variety of dissimilar substrates, and are more aesthetically pleasing. Materials like glass and ceramic can’t be welded and are too brittle for mechanical fastening, but are perfectly compatible with adhesive chemistries.
Three types of adhesives are generally used for structural bonding applications: epoxies, acrylics and urethanes. Adhesive selection depends on what materials are to be bonded, operating environment and process specifications.
Epoxies are excellent for bonding similar materials, especially woods, metals, glass, ceramics, hard rubbers, and some plastics.
Acrylics excel at bonding both similar and dissimilar substrates, though they do have difficulty bonding plastics. Acrylics can even bond oily or dirty materials, eliminating extensive cleaning and surface preparation, though proper cleaning and surface preparation is still recommended for the optimal bonding strength. Acrylics are not as strong or heat resistant as epoxies.
Urethanes are proficient at bonding plastics and dissimilar materials, including metal-to-plastic and metal-to-glass, and can be engineered to provide exceptional durability. Urethane structural bonds are flexible and resilient to vibration, shock, and impact.