It’s no secret that adhesives and sealants bring astounding value to the modern world, and especially to manufacturing industries. There are many different adhesives and sealants on the market, however, and choosing the right one for your needs can be a difficult job.
How do you go about this task? Well, the answer is that you need to consider your application. What types of substrates will you be working with? Under what conditions?
Ross Noel is a senior engineer who works with automotive sealants applications for Dow Corning Corporation. In an article for Manufacturing.Net, he gives this advice:
“With so many products to choose from, making sure you select the proper sealant is especially important. Selecting the wrong industrial sealant, or applying the correct sealant in the wrong manner, can have serious consequences. Keep the eventual application of your sealant in mind.”
In the “Handbook of Adhesives and Sealants,” Edward M. Petrie similarly cautions:
“Because the adhesives and sealants industry is very fragmented (several very large companies, but thousands of very small companies), locating the right adhesive has been very much of a hit or miss proposition. On the part of the adhesive or sealant user, it requires contacting dozens of manufacturers, listing requirements, and discussion trade-offs. Also, the prospective adhesive user doesn’t always know what questions to ask the manufacturer.” (Petrie, p. 760)
Fortunately, there are some guiding criteria you can use to narrow down your search when looking for an adhesive or sealant for your particular application.
Let’s take a look at them…
Choosing the right adhesive for your application
Here are some tips for choosing the right adhesive for your application needs.
· Substrates. The various physical and chemical properties of substrates to be adhered can all affect the adhesive used. As an example, if you’re bonding two different substrates, it’s important to take into account their thermal-expansion co-efficients. If they’re mismatched, your adhesive joints may suffer, unless you use a very strong adhesive that can withstand the stress. (Petrie, p. 425, 437)
· Joint design. When considering different adhesives, it’s important to think about the types of stress your adhesive joint will undergo. For example, if you are adhering two rubber substrates that often bend or flex while in use, using a hard or brittle adhesive may not be the best choice. (Petrie, p. 437)
· Cost. When looking at the cost of the adhesive, it’s not just about the cost of the raw material, but also the equipment, time, and labor required by the bonding operation. The cost of wasted adhesive and rejected parts should be considered, as well. (Petrie, p. 445)
· Temperature. What temperature ranges will the adhesive be subjected to? Adhesives must be maintained at a consistent temperature, or else they may become less effective. Petrie writes that at higher temperatures, some adhesives may lose strength, soften, or decompose. At lower temperatures, many adhesives may be subject to premature cohesive failure. (Petrie, p. 446–447) Fortunately, a point-of-application fluid temperature control system can compensate for these variances.
Choosing the right sealant for your application
What about sealants? Here are some guiding criteria to consider when choosing a sealant for your application:
· Viscosity. Sealant viscosity determines how a sealant can be applied. Depending on its viscosity, a sealant may be brushed, troweled, or extruded, thus uncontrolled viscosity can greatly affect your application. The best way to maintain viscosity is via temperature control using a point-of-application system. (p. 524–525)
· Ambient temperature. The temperature of the surrounding environment can greatly affect the application of a sealant. At lower temperatures, it may take too long to cure, while at higher temperatures, expanded substrates will cause the sealant to compress, possibly forcing it out of the joint. (p. 525)
· Cure rate/working life. Different types of sealants remain in a workable state for varying lengths of time. Consider how much time you need to work with the sealant for your application. (p. 525-526).
But that’s not the end of the story…
After figuring out the best adhesive or sealant for your needs, it’s still possible that that may experience quality issues in your application once you start using it. Saint Clair Systems has worked with companies where this was the case.
Fortunately, we’ve been able to help companies successfully solve their adhesive or sealant quality issues through the installation and usage of comprehensive, point-of-application fluid temperature control systems.
If you are experiencing any adhesive or sealant quality issues in your application, contact Saint Clair Systems to find out what a fluid temperature control solution can do for you.