A Buyer’s Guide to Adhesives

buyer guide

If you were to go into a hardware shop, or other similar shop, you would be confronted with a huge amount of different adhesives. Visit a website like www.jessupmfg.com, for instance, and you would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with the number of choices that are out there. Hopefully, the following will help you to determine what everything is and, most importantly, what you actually need.

Six Types of Adhesives

First of all, there are six different types of adhesives. Those are:

  • Contact adhesives. Some common brand names include Thixofix and Evo-Stick.
  • Woodworking adhesives, with Unibond being the most common brand.
  • Cyanoacrylate adhesives, which are more commonly known as ‘super glues’.
  • Two part epoxy adhesives, with the best known brand being Araldite.
  • Two part acrylic adhesives, which are very similar to regular acrylics.
  • General purpose or universal adhesives, like Durofix or UHU.

These are the six most common types of adhesives, but there are also a number of specialist types. These can generally only be purchase from specific stores. They include mending PVC adhesives, glass joining adhesives, and polystyrene joining adhesives. Lastly, there are some that are designed for things like hobby work with card or paper, putting up wallpaper, and fixing wall tiles.

How to Choose an Adhesive

If you have to choose an adhesive, there are a few specific things that you should take into consideration:

  1. What are the materials you aim to join? The adhesive you use has to be suitable for the material or, if they are two different ones, for both. Plastics are the difficult ones, because ‘plastic’ is a generic term that can actually include a range of different materials. Do speak to a specialist, therefore.
  2. How strong does the hold need to be? With a wood glue, for instance, the strength and integrity of the glue is as high as that of the wood. If you join plastics or metals, however, it is generally much weaker. If the adhesive is not strong enough for you, you may need to think about some joint reinforcement methods.
  3. How large is the gap between the two items that you want to join? Some adhesives can only cope with very small gaps, which is the case with a contact adhesive. If you use an eyanoacrylate, the gap has to be even smaller. But an epoxy glue can manage quite a large gap.
  4. What temperatures will the glue be exposed to once joined? Thermoplastic adhesives like contact glue, and universal adhesives can’t be exposed to heat. Thermosetting glues, by contrast, retain their integrity even under high temperatures. If you are fixing crockery, for instance, this is an important consideration.
  5. What will it look like? If you are making an item of decoration, you don’t want a visible glue finish to appear on it. Often, visibility depends on the thickness of the glue and you can often wipe away some of the excess. Again, this is something you need to discuss with a specialist.

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