Common Causes of Adhesive FailureJuly 24, 2018
An adhesive isn’t living up to its product description. A crack is gaping or a piece of tape is slipping away from a patched surface, all because the liquid or paste-based anchoring stuff is on the brink of failing. Research and development laboratories know all about such undesirable glue-failure incidents. They understand the common causes of adhesive failure. For starters, bonding agents aren’t likely to work as advertised when contaminants are around.
Application Site Contaminants
Clean and scrub the surface free of any and all foreign material before applying the sticky compound. Oil is a known adhesive inhibitor, as is grease and dirt. Bond performance increases exponentially after these trace elements are cleaned away.
Care for Liner Protection
Related to the contaminant tip, liner strips should not be removed from a length of adhesive tape until it’s about to be used. Bonding compounds can begin to cure if they’re exposed to the air. Furthermore, uncovered viscous materials instantly attract dirt and grime. Like a strip of flypaper, the adhesive material attracts dirt.
As advanced formulations develop, they gain special features. Leading tapes and tubed adhesives now have enough formulated smarts to target specific substrates. Ironically, that same feature can sometimes backfire. These special adhesives simply won’t cure if they’re applied to an incompatible material substrate.
Environmental Foul Ups
A boiler room is coated in damp. Elsewhere, the setting is hot and dry. In the wet room, a poorly selected product is relinquishing its grip because the boiler room heat has helped the water penetrate the partially cured glue. Meanwhile, outside with a pair of repaired surfaces, UV rays and direct sunlight are impacting the formerly tacky mass. Humidity, pH and chemical toxicity, ultraviolet rays and carbon dioxide, many modern adhesives have an Achilles heel, a weakness for a particular environmental factor.
Handling Application Mishaps
The environment might be hard to control, but we can certainly regulate installation methods. If two surfaces are going to glue together better when a recommended formula is suggested, then use that product. If it’s hobbled by an extended curing period, use clamping devices to lock the parts in place until that period passes.
In other words, use an adhesive according to the included instructions. If those instructions are misplaced, go to the manufacturer’s website for more information. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a chosen compound, we can avoid the failure causes mentioned in the above passages. Environmental problems and user application errors are all easily correctable, well, they are as long as the application technician follows those user guidelines.
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