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Low Surface Energy Trend, How Adhesives are Adapting

As low surface energy materials gain popularity in many manufacturing processes, it’s important to understand their impact on adhesives and how adhesives are adapting.

Why Use Low Surface Energy Materials?

These materials offer manufacturers several benefits, including:

  • Durability
  • Flexibility
  • Moisture and heat resistance
  • Cost effectiveness

In particular, these materials include:

  • Polypropylene
  • Polyethylene
  • Teflon
  • Other thermoplastic polyolefins

Adhesive Challenges Posed by Low Surface Energy Materials

However, these materials are hard to bond to with conventional adhesives. This is because adhesives need materials with higher surface energy in order to sufficiently “wet out” the surface. “Wetting out” is required to form a strong bond and refers to the adhesive seeping into the substrate.

When a material has low surface energy, the adhesive beads up rather than flows out. Unable to make intimate contact with the substrate, the adhesion level is reduced and bond failure is likely.

How Adhesives are Adapting to Low Surface Energy Materials

While surface preparation techniques help increase the level of surface energy, new adhesive formulation advancements enable adhesives to bond to these materials with or without surface preparation. This is due to their formulation’s ability to adjust to a lower surface energy.

In particular, using adhesive tape products help with bonding to these materials and offer lightweight, quick and clean adhesion. With the ability to tolerate vibration and movement, these products also eliminate weak points, spreading stress uniformly thoroughout the product.

Smart Adhesives for Low Surface Energy Materials

Bostik’s extensive industry knowledge and broad technology portfolio enable us to formulate adhesives that can accommodate these difficult-to-bond substrates and other evolving market trends. Meeting a range of applications, we can also custom formulate products for customers’ most stringent needs.

For information on how our products can help your company’s manufacturing processes, call 800-7-BOSTIK, or visit www.bostik.com/us.

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