UV Curable Adhesives and Sealants: What Are They?May 31, 2016
New words cause a flash of consternation to darken a user’s face, but a keenly practiced term dismemberment technique quickly clarifies the matter. Let’s try the technique out by forcing UV curable adhesives and sealants to submit to our methodology.
What is a UV Curable Product?
On breaking the term apart, the product is obviously formulated to bond surfaces or objects together, but the phrase “UV-curable” is harder to decipher. Simply put, a product that uses a UV source as a curing agent is one that relies on light-curing, the power of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Minute quantities of this short wavelength light induce a chemical change within a specially formulated UV-curable adhesive, a photosensitive reaction that hardens the liquid coating, bonding the parts together.
Benefits of UV Curable Adhesives and Sealants
When we apply a fast-bonding adhesive, a clock begins ticking. The solvent will solidify in a few minutes, maybe even seconds. What if there was a different way? Remove time from the process and we gain control over the transitional states of the adhesive. Additionally, versatility enters the scene, with users focusing the beam or increasing beam intensity to gain fine control over small bonding areas.
Bleeding-edge sealing products now deliver the paste-like properties of silicone and elastomeric rubbers without incorporating solvents. Instead, highly controllable UV curing technology is injected into the mix. The resulting seals begin life as a low-viscosity coating but harden until a full seal is achieved, an airtight and vibration-resistant bond that exhibits typical sealant properties. The only difference is the curing system, the short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation that transforms the liquid into a long-term seal.
When Technology Meets Chemistry
There’s a two-sided “feel” to UV curable adhesives and sealants. On the application side, they’re used in highly discriminating application fields. Electronic components are coated in tiny quantities of the solvent-free substance. Dentistry practices use the technology, safe in the knowledge that no toxic chemicals are present. Again, it’s an eminently controllable adhesive, but the technology can also be flipped on its head. For instance, technology is used to test the bonds once they’re hardened. Red on initial application, the blue light hardens the adhesive until the colour fades. Non-destructive tests conclude with a touch-free bond verification test, one that uses a fluorescing light source to highlight invisible flaws.
UV curing is used in optics and industry, electronics and medical technology. The substance is transparent, capable of forming strong bonds, and can be verified afterwards for adhesion consistency.
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