Surface Preparation Guide

A guide to various situations, methods, techniques and materials to prepare surfaces for adhesion.

For high strength structural bonds, paint, oxide films, oils, dust, mold, release agents and all other surface contaminants must be completely removed. However, the amount of surface preparation directly depends on the required bond strength, environmental aging resistance and economic practicalities.

There are three basic methods of removing contaminants: chemical cleaning, abrasion and degreasing.

CHEMICAL CLEANING is popular for preparing metals. It includes treatments which etch the surface to form highly adhering oxides, or deposit complex inorganic coatings. Chemical cleaning, where applicable, provides the best surface for adhesion.

ABRASION METHODS include sandblasting, and use of abrasives and finishing materials. Sandblasting with fine sand can only be used on substrates sufficiently thick to prevent distortion.

DEGREASING may be used when maximum adhesive strength or outdoor weather-resistance is not critical. Surfaces are cleaned with either a hot alkali solution or solvent vapor. To use either method, surfaces must be free of rust, paint and scale.

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