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How to Increase Substrate Surface Energy

As discussed in a recent blog, low energy substrates are gaining popularity in many manufacturing processes. These substrates offer benefits, such as durability, flexibility and cost effectiveness.

Yet while adhesives have been adapting to challenges that low surface energy poses, these substrates also can adjust. Take a look at certain ways to increase their surface energy and aid in adhesive bonding.

  1. Remove Any Contaminants

Contaminants can get onto a substrate from a variety of sources, including:

  • Machining
  • Handling
  • Surroundings
  • Cleaner residue

Even the slightest bit of contaminant on a surface can significantly impact an adhesive’s ability to adhere. Therefore, it’s important to take caution in carefully removing any contaminants prior to adhesive application

  1. Ensure the Surface is Fully Dry

A wet surface can impact adhesion much in the same way a contaminated surface can. In order to ensure proper adhesion and help boost surface energy, the substrate must be fully dry and free of any moisture.

  1. Roughen the Surface

Another way to increase surface energy is to roughen the surface of the substrate. Sanding is one easy way to do this, creating peaks and valleys on the substrate. These give the adhesive greater ability to grip the substrate, allowing for a better, stronger bond.

Chemical etching is another option, depending upon the specific substrate materials.

  1. Use a Primer

You also may need to use a primer, based upon the specific substrate and its level of surface energy. However, it’s important to consult with your chosen adhesive manufacturer ahead of time to determine if one is needed.

Bostik works directly with customers to ensure proper adhesion is achieved. To learn more about our testing processes, call 800-7-BOSTIK, or visit www.bostik.com/us.

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