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What is a Polymer Adhesive?

By Brenda Scott
Updated May 17, 2024
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A polymer is a molecule made up of a chain of repeating units which are chemically bonded together. Adhesives are substances which are used to glue things together. A polymer adhesive is a synthetic bonding substance made from polymers and is considered to be stronger, more flexible and have greater impact resistance than other forms of adhesives. These bonding products are used in multiple industries including automotive, aerospace, aviation, construction, electronics, and electrical.

A polymer adhesive may come in a variety of forms, including urethanes, epoxies, resins, cyanoacrylates and methacrylates. Urethanes are resistant to oils, chemicals, acids and fuels, making them a popular adhesive for many applications. These products are strong, flexible, and bond well to a variety of surfaces. They are used to seal fuel tanks, oil tanks, chemical processing equipment and piping. Urethane adhesives can also be used to attach floor tiles to subflooring, fill gaps, and in thread lock compounds replacing the need for washers.

An epoxy polymer adhesive is used in a number of everyday applications, including glue sticks for glue guns and in a variety of craft glues. These come in a wide range of hardness and viscosity, or resistance to flow, and can bond plastics, fiberglass, wood, stone and metal. Epoxies are heat and chemical resistant and are good electrical insulators, making them a frequent choice for electronic and electrical applications. They are also valuable when a strong bond is required, such as in aircraft, marine, and auto manufacturing.

Some concrete mixes contain a resin polymer adhesive which helps bond and set the powder into hard concrete. These adhesives are also used in electronics and as a bonding material for mounting brackets on teeth for orthodontic appliances. A polyvinyl acetate (PVA) is the most commonly used thermoplastic polymer resin at archaeological sites to piece together organic material, like bones and teeth, as well as pottery pieces.

A cyanoacrylate is a quick-bonding polymer adhesive with an acrylic base that is used in manufacturing and medicine. One of the well known examples is Super Glue®, which is similar to a cyanoacrylate frequently used in place of sutures when treating cuts and for bonding surgical incisions. These instant glues are also popular for making models, crafts, and repairing things around the house.

Methacrylate, another class of polymer adhesive, contains methyl-vinyl. This polymer adhesive has excellent impact resistance, flexibility and shear strength. It has a medium to fast cure time, and does a better job bonding plastics than either urethanes or epoxies. Methacrylates are flammable, and should be applied in an area with good ventilation.

There are several things to consider in choosing a polymer adhesive. Products should be compared to determine which one will bond best with they type of surfaces being joined. Different products may be chosen depending upon the viscosity required for the job, the amount of time available for curing, and whether a permanent or temporary bond is required. For best results, apply the adhesive on a clean, dry surface and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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Discussion Comments
By anon168119 — On Apr 15, 2011

how we can produce a synthetic adhesive for wood pasting?

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