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Myth #4: All structural adhesives are epoxies.

Disproved: Not all structural adhsives are made the same.

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Different adhesive chemistry families bond differently and provide different process and end-use benefits.

Adhesive Family Characteristics

“Epoxy” is often used as a generic name for adhesives, but epoxies are actually only one of the common chemistry families that make up structural adhesives. The three main structural adhesive chemistries are epoxy, acrylic and urethane adhesives. However, polyeurethane reactive, instant and anaerobic adhesive families are also good choices in certain situations.

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A donut chart showing the different types of 3M Structural Adhesives.

Adhesive Families

  • Acrylic adhesives offer fast cure rates, and exceptional bonding to low surface energy substrates. They are also the least sensative to surface preparation and off-ratio mixing.

  • Offering the best resistance to high temperatures, solvents, and harsh environment, epoxy adhesives are extremely strong and durable, bond to a variety of materials, withstand vibrations, impact and fatigue, and are available in a variety of open times.

  • Ideal for creating strong, flexible bonds between dissimilar materials that resist shock, vibration, and impact loads, urethane adhesives bond well to composites, wood, glass, concrete, a variety of engineering plastics, and some metals. They are also available in a range of process times.

  • PUR adhesives are a one-part formulation that combine flexibility and the initial speed of a hot melt with the strength of a structural adhesive. They bond very well to wood, glass, ceramics and many plastics, have low to no VOCs and come in a variety of open times.

  • Anaerobic adhesives are one-part adhesives that cure in the absence of oxygen. They augment the strength of a threaded joint and prevent loosening due to excessive vibration and resist pressure and galvanic corrosion.

  • Instant adhesives are one-part adhesives that reach handling strength in seconds. They are excellent for bonding rubber, including EPDM and silicone, and bond well to common engineering plastics, LSE plastics, metals and wood. Instant adhesive are best suited for small parts assembly.

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