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November 13, 2017 - Assembly

Importance of Adhesive and Fabric Compatibility and Considerations to Make

Adhesives are used to bond together fabrics in a range of applications. These include:

  • Oil and air filtration media
  • Window treatments
  • Mattress assembly
  • Foam-to-fabric bonding in furniture
  • Jackets, sports material and footwear

As a result, it’s important to ensure the chosen adhesive is compatible with the fabric. Let’s take a closer look at considerations to make and which types of adhesives are used in various fabric applications.

White mattress isolated

Why is it Important to Ensure Compatibility? 

Ensuring compatibility allows for chemical and mechanical bonds to be made versus just mechanical bonds. For example, if a polyamide adhesive is applied to a polyester fabric, it probably won’t bond chemically. Instead, it will only become intertwined in the fabric’s pores and bond mechanically.

  1. A mechanical bond is where the adhesive “grabs” onto the material through penetration of pores or folds and the destruction/melting of substrates. Materials can be chemically incompatible but bond together through mechanical bonding. Having only a mechanical bond is not ideal, and bond failure may occur.
  2. A chemical bond, however, happens at the molecular level.  This is where molecules have affinities to other molecules and bond through covalent bonding, ionic bonding or through Vanderwaals forces. Most chemical bonds that occur when an adhesive is applied tend to be through Vanderwaals forces. The other bonds tend to occur through chemical reactions.

If a polyester adhesive is applied to a polyester fabric, it will bond both chemically and mechanically. Having both mechanical and chemical bonds ensures a compatible adhesive-to-substrate system, which means the bond is less likely to fail.

Interior design of modern Living room/ home improvement concept

What Items Should be Considered in Determining Adhesive and Fabric Compatibility?

1. Chemistry

It’s important to consider the chemistry of both the adhesive and the fabric. Like materials tend to bond to each other better than dissimilar materials.

2. Melting Temperature, Softening Point

The adhesive’s melting temperature and fabric’s softening point are important as well. For instance, the adhesive that is being applied should not be hotter than the fabric’s softening point. If it is, then the fabric could become distorted.

3. Where the Media is Going

It’s also important to understand where the media is going to avoid using an over-engineered adhesive. For example, picking the right product is important when it comes to bonding to material and handling specific environmental and application conditions. If only certain specifications need to be met,  then pick an adhesive that meets those specs, versus an adhesive that meets those specs and then some.

air_filters_pile_istock_18691782

What Types of Adhesives are Compatible for Fabric Applications?

Various adhesives are compatible for fabric applications. These include:

  • Filtration: melt blown polyesters
  • Interiors (window treatments, mattress assembly, etc.): polyolefins, polyamides, hot melt pressure sensitives, web adhesives, hot melt polyurethanes
  • Apparel: hot melt polyurethanes, hot melt pressure sensitives
  • Medical: hot melt pressure sensitives, polyesters, polyolefins
  • Transportation: polyolefins, polyamides, hot melt pressure sensitives, web adhesives, hot melt polyurethanes

These adhesives are chosen based on their compatibility with the substrate as well as any environmental conditions the end product will endure. For example, adhesives and fabrics used in medical applications (such as surgical gowns) need to meet skin contact specifications and bio-inertness.

Bostik manufactures a range of quality adhesives for fabric applications. Certain products include:

  • PE120: This polyester web adhesive is used in interior, apparel, medical and transportation applications. With moderate heat activation and excellent adhesion to textiles and urethane foam, this product also offers good temperature resistance and resistance to oils and plasticizers.
  • HM4229: This hot melt polyamide adhesive is used in filtration, interior and transportation applications. It features good temperature resistance, excellent plasticizer resistance and has a long open time. This product also has low application viscosity for ease of use and can bond to a variety of substrates.
  • SG1582-082: This hot melt polyurethane adhesive is used in textile bonding and seating applications. It offers high tack and rapid green strength development. This product also has good adhesion to a variety of substrates including flexible vinyl and polyurethane foam.

For more information on Bostik’s adhesives for fabric applications, call 800-7-BOSTIK.

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