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What are the Different Types of Rubber Adhesive?

By Susan Grindstaff
Updated May 17, 2024
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Rubber adhesive is used for many purposes, both in the home and manufacturing, and there are several different types. Styrene and acrylonitrile are both adhesives made of rubber, and both are typically used to join pieces made of rubber. Natural rubber, neoprene, and polyurethane are also common types of rubber adhesive. They are used to bond a variety of elements, including glass, metal, and natural fibers.

Most all rubber-based glues and bonding agents are made of rubber mixed with other compounds. Rubber is particularly suited as a bonding element because of its flexibility. In many situations, sealants must be able to expand and contract, because they are sometimes used on parts that experience temperature variations. Styrene is one type of rubber adhesive commonly used in automobile manufacturing because it adapts well to temperature and pressure changes.

Some types of bonding compounds made with rubber are used as sealants. Polyurethane and silicone can both be used to join glass and metal, but are more commonly applied in layers to help seal pressure-sensitive joints. Polyurethane is typically a permanent adhesive, but silicone is considered temporary and may require repeated applications.

Natural rubber adhesive is generally made of both natural rubber and synthetic rubber. It is extremely flammable, so may not be suitable for bonding in high temperature situations. It is generally used where dampness is an issue because of its water resistance. Natural rubber is often used in shoes, suitcases, and handbags. It can be damaged by other solvents, such as oil and grease, and is not considered suitable for bonding heavy pieces.

Polysulfide is a type of rubber adhesive often used on boats and other marine equipment. It is able to withstand moisture, so can also be used for sealing and caulking. Additionally, polysulfide can be applied quickly in emergency situations. One drawback of polysulfide is that it should not be used on certain types of plastic, as it can cause the compounds to break down and decay.

Rubber adhesive is commonly used in tires and inner tubes. One such adhesive is called butyl, a bonding agent made of synthetic rubber and isoprene. What makes butyl different from most other adhesives is that it can be mixed with other compounds to improve flexibility and elasticity. It is resistant to most types of weathering and temperature variances. Additionally, butyl does not harden or crack over time, which is considered essential for any adhesive used in tires.

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Discussion Comments

By accordion — On Sep 24, 2011

I don't like rubber adhesives if I can find an alternative. They can be pretty dangerous if you use them a lot, and I have been hearing a lot about how they might endanger the environment. I don't know of a good non-rubber adhesive glue for things like windows and other building construction, though.

By stolaf23 — On Sep 24, 2011

I used to have rubber cement glue for crafts and other projects. I still remember the smell, even though it's been a long time. It was so strong and pungent. The glue was great for a lot of projects, though.

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