Polymers are chemically bonded chains of molecules, and adhesives are substances that strongly bind surfaces. Combining the two, the term “polymer adhesive” refers to a synthetic bonding substance that is more flexible, powerful and impact-resistant than any kind of glue available in the market. These are used by the electronics, automotive and aviation industries, to name a few. The following belong to the polymer adhesives family.
Methacrylate adhesives are a combination of methacrylic and acrylic acids and were first introduced during the 1970s. It became popular because it makes work faster thus increasing productivity. This glue cures instantly, dissolves most contaminants and bonds even on uncleaned surfaces. It is incredibly strong and highly ductile. However, methacrylate is flammable, so it should be applied in well-ventilated areas.
Epoxy adhesives are composed of epoxides in linked polymer structures and cured into thermosetting resins. Discovered in the US during the early 20th century, they are characterized by strength, strong adhesion and toughness. Available in film and paste, epoxies are used to bond plastics, wood, stone, metal and fiberglass. Since these are capable insulators, they are also used in electrical and electronic applications.
Cyanoacrylate adhesives are substances with an acrylic base. Invented in the 1940s and later dubbed as superglue, it was discovered that they can bond non-porous materials rapidly. It was also proven that cyanoacrylates bond body tissue well. Doctors have, in fact, been taking advantage of this quality for suture-free surgery of cuts and incisions. Superglues are also used to bind materials such as rubber, metal, and silicone.
Urethane adhesives are resins formed by a mixture of polyurethane and other chemicals. First made available during the 1950s, they have the notable feature of flexibility to meet any special requirement. It is the preferred adhesive for low temperatures where methacrylates and epoxies become brittle. Urethane adhesives are primarily used for bonding thermoset composites such as fiberglass and coated metals.
The choice of reliable industrial adhesives should be based on the task at hand. Users need to consider their viscosity, curing time and the permanence of the bond. For more information on glues, go to home.howstuffworks.com/glues.htm.
Methacrylate Adhesives and Other Types of Polymer Adhesives