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Adhesive Materials Checklist:


What to Know When Bonding Rubber Adhesives
Introduction
Bonding materials together can be tricky, especially because there are a considerable number of adhesives,
adhesive methods and materials from which to choose.

When you approach a manufacturer about material bonding, they’ll ask you a number of questions about the
project. Coming to the table ready with answers will help the entire process — from initial product catalog
selection to delivery — run smoothly, efficiently, and on budget.

We’ve created a checklist to help you come prepared to meet with a prospective manufacturer about your
new project.

Click on each question to find solutions and suggestions for your project.

What materials do you want to bond? Is the bond temporary or permanent?

Are you willing to prepare the Must it meet any reliability or quality
surfaces? requirements?

What types of stress will be exerted What is the surface type of the material to
on the adhesive? which it’s being bonded?

What environmental resistance Are there any appearance or aesthetic


is necessary? considerations that must be taken into account?

What are the dimensions of the Are there any special storage conditions?
bonding area?

What is the end use application of


the product?

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 2


What You Should Know

The answers to these common questions will play a large role determining the adhesive, or
adhesives, that will best suit your application. Being prepared with detailed information will help
to ease the entire process. Here’s what you need to know:

What materials do you want to bond?


This seems simple, and it can be — but it can also be quite
complex.

If you are bonding plastic, for example, it is helpful to be


specific. “Plastic” or “black plastic” are not very helpful. Are
you bonding acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic to
ABS, or to polypropylene? Polypropylene to polyethylene?
To some, plastic is plastic — but different plastics react to
different adhesives on a molecular level.

Take similar care if you are bonding to metals. “Type


309 stainless steel” is a much more helpful answer than
simply “stainless steel” — and don’t forget to mention any
surface treatments, like plating or annealing, with which the
material must be processed.

Does your product require rubber to metal bonding? Metals such as aluminum or stainless steel are high surface
energy, but once the metal is powder coated, you will be bonding to a low surface energy “skin”. As with any other
bonding scenario, the more specific you can be the more helpful it is to the manufacturer.

Specificity is key when answering this question.

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 3


Are you willing to prepare the surface?
Few product components come off the line ready to bond. Often, some form of surface preparation is required for
metal and plastic parts alike.

Degreasing is important for any component that must be bonded with another. Parts naturally pick up grease during
the production process, which in turn picks up dirt, dust, and other contaminants. Both grease and particulates
caught in grease are serious detriments to proper bonding.

Other surface preparation treatments include abrasion, flame treatment, “Degreasing is important
plasma treatment, and a range of chemical treatments. The type of for any component that
treatment or treatments your part requires depends on its material, and must be bonded with
plays a part in dictating which adhesives or adhesive methods can be used. another.”

An inability or unwillingness to perform required surface preparations can severely limit your adhesive options,
require subcontracting, or add to the cost of bonding.

What types of stress will be exerted on the adhesive?


The types of stress that will be placed on your bonded product, and consequently on the adhesive itself, in an
end use application plays a large role in adhesive selection — the correct adhesive must be able to withstand
those stresses.

There are four primary stresses to consider:

Peel stress
Peel stress is encountered by an adhesive when forces pull
bonded components in opposite directions at an edge in a
peeling motion

Shear stress
Shear stress is stress that is placed on components parallel to the
adhesive plane; for example, one component with leftward force
and the second with rightward force

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www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 4


Tensile stress
Tensile stress is caused by opposing forces applied perpendicularly to
the adhesive plane, such as two components being pulled apart

Cleavage stress
Cleavage stress occurs when forces are applied at one edge of a
bonded component in a prying motion

What environmental resistance is necessary?


While it is likely that you carefully considered the
environmental forces that are expected to act on your product,
it is not uncommon to neglect the same consideration in
regards to adhesives.

UV rays from sunlight, moisture and water, chemicals, extreme


temperatures and temperature fluctuations, vibrations, and
other environmental factors can all have the same kinds of
degenerative effects on adhesive as they can on your product
as a whole. It’s important to provide these factors to your
adhesive manufacturer — but don’t overstate them, as this can
lead to longer lead times and higher costs.

What are the dimensions of the bonding area?


Bonding area dimensions are another consideration that seems
simple at first glance but can be quite complex. There are far
more factors than simple X and Y dimensions.

First, there is the Z dimension, the thickness of the bonding


agent — can your overall part design accommodate a thicker “Determine the
layer of adhesive, or must it be as thin as possible? Is the bonding dimensions of the
surface simple, or does it have geometrical complexities such as a bonding area. Are there
unique shape or a varied surface? Are there areas that absolutely areas where the adhesive
must or must not have adhesive? should not be applied?”

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 5


What is the end use application of the product?
The intended end use of your product can help to determine which adhesive is best in a number of ways,
including regarding environmental considerations, as discussed above. It can also help by determining which
secondary function or functions the adhesive would be required to perform.

While some adhesives are suitable for attachment and bonding purposes only, many can serve a number of
purposes: thermal or electrical insulation, thermal or electrical conduction, gap filling, cushion for percussive
impacts, as a seal, as a barrier, and so on. Even design, process, and packing considerations can be met by
multifunctional adhesives.

Is the bond temporary or permanent?


Few people make a notable distinction between low-tack temporary adhesive
and high-tack permanent adhesive, viewing temporary adhesive as a
temporary solution to a permanent problem. Low-tack temporary adhesives
can be quite versatile and actually outperform high-tack permanent adhesives
in a number of scenarios, including as the attachment mechanism for
changeable gaskets or the seal of resealable packaging.

Before you specify low-tack temporary adhesive, be sure to consider environmental factors like
exposure and temperature, which can reduce the anticipated lifespan of temporary adhesive.

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 6


Are there any reliability or quality requirements
that must be met?
Is your part destined for a market that is subjected to rigorous
quality and reliability standards, such as the medical equipment
industry? These regulations are often expansive and include
guidelines for bonds and adhesives — be sure to tell your adhesive
manufacturer about all reliability and quality requirements your
product must meet so that they can select a suitable adhesive and
provide test result documentation when required.

What is the surface type of the material it’s bonding to?


“Surface type” refers to the surface energy of a material; surface energy is a measurement of the ease with which
an adhesive spreads, or wets out, over the surface.
Metals — particularly lead, tin, zinc, aluminum, and copper — have high surface energies, meaning adhesive wets
out easily when applied. Many plastics also have high surface energies, such as polyimides, nylon, polyurethane,
and ABS. Other plastics, including polystyrene, acetal, polyethylene, polypropylene, and PTFE, as well as most
powder coating materials, have low surface energies.

The surface energy of your components dictate not only which types of adhesives are used — generally speaking,
acrylic-based adhesives for high surface energy materials and rubber-based adhesives for low surface energy
materials — but how much will be required.

High Surface Energy Low Surface Energy

• Easy to Adhere • Hard to Adhere


• Good Adhesive “wet out” • Poor Adhesive “wet out”

Metal, Kapton, Polyester, Polyurethane, Flexible PVC, Polystyrene, Acetal, EVA, Polyethylene
ABS, Polycarbonate, Rigid PVC, Acrylic (PE), Polypropylene (PP), Tedlar (PVF), Power Coated
Paints, Teflon, EPDM Foam

Easy To Bond to: Difficult

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 7


Are there any appearance or aesthetic considerations that must be taken into account?
What optic and aesthetic requirements do you need an adhesive to meet? If it is a product intended for use by
another business as a component in a larger product, brand color might not be as important as it would be for
a direct to consumer product. Does something in the product’s use require the adhesive to have a particular
translucency or opacity?

Are there any special storage conditions?


Of particular import in this regard is heat — do you expect
your product to be stored for any notable length of time in an
environment that is not climate controlled?

Longer-term storage in a hot environment can be problematic for


many adhesives, particularly pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs):
PSAs are prone to cockling, or developing wrinkles and puckers,
when in a hot environment for a prolonged amount of time.

Cockling can cause performance issues, or even complete failure, in your product and can lead to fabrication
issues if prefabricated PSA strips or sheets are stored prior to use. This is in addition to potential cost increases
that you can incur due to cockling-related issues.

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

eBook: Adhesive Materials Checklist / Pg 8


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Working with a Manufacturer

Understanding the basics of what you require from an adhesive material can go a long way toward improving your
interactions with an adhesive manufacturer. When working with a high quality adhesives manufacturer, one with
years of proven experience and expertise, they can help guide you to the best adhesives expediently.

With both you and your adhesives manufacturer on the same page, your project will run much more smoothly
— it will get off the ground more quickly, have an overall accelerated turnaround time, and, ultimately, lower
costs for you.

Ready to request your next adhesives project, or want to learn more about the intricacies of adhesive selection?
Contact CGR Products today.

CGR Products • www.cgrproducts.com • info@cgrproducts.com

Contact Us

Greensboro, NC 4655 US Highway 29 North Toll Free: 877.313.6785


Greensboro, NC 27405 Fax: 336.375.5324

Decatur, AL 1025 Brooks St SE Toll Free: 877.313.6785


Decatur, AL 35601-6564 Fax: 256.355.6884

Waukesha, WI 1011 Sentry Drive Tel: 262.549.8300


Waukesha, WI 53186 Fax: 262.549.8305

www.cgrproducts.com / 877-313-6785 / Greensboro, NC • Decatur, AL • Waukesha, WI

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