If you’ve been following our blog, you already know that we are big fans of adhesives. Whether you’re assembling an electronic device or creating a wearable that needs to stick to skin, odds are there’s an adhesive that can fit into your design and improve the functionality or manufacturability of your product.
Benefits and applications of adhesives.
Adhesives technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. There’s now a wide range of products available, and many are highly specialized to overcome common design problems or limitations of older adhesives. Depending on your application, you can incorporate adhesives that offer a variety of benefits, including:
- Reliable for attaching, bonding, securing, and sealing
- Can create a permanent and evenly distributed bond
- Lightweighting of product
- Safe securement to skin
- Improve durability and appearance
- Cost-efficient material
- Simplified assembly
With so many advantages, it should be no surprise that adhesives are common in a variety of applications and products:
- Labels and decals
- Membrane switches and user interfaces
- Graphic overlays
- Electronics materials
- Tapes and patches
- Cohesive tapes
- Seals and gaskets
Considerations for adhesive selection.
Since modern adhesives are highly specialized, it’s critical that you select the right one for your specific needs. Here are seven factors to help you narrow down to the ideal solution.
1. Type of substrate – What is the surface that the adhesive is being applied to? Different adhesives are better suited for metal, stainless steel, aluminum, fabric, foam, copper, paper, polyimides, polycarbonate, etc.
2. Condition of surface – What properties of the surface need to be accounted for that may impact adhesion? Is the substrate rough or smooth? Rigid or flexible? Coated or uncoated?
3. Surface energy – The surface energy can vary greatly based on the substrate material. For example, certain plastics can have a surface energy (dyne/cm) of as low as 18, while metals can be over 1,000. In general, the lower the surface energy, the stronger the adhesive needs to be for successful bonding.
4. Performance characteristics – What are the usage expectations for the adhesive and final product? Is the expected life single-use, one year, or even longer?
5. Environmental conditions – What elements will be present that could interfere or degrade the adhesive? Will the product be used indoors or outdoors? Will it be exposed to extreme temperature or humidity? Is storage or recycling a factor?
6. Harsh exposures – Similar to environmental conditions but more specific, will the adhesive need to contend with contaminants or elements such as water, saltwater, dust or dirt, oil, gases, chemicals, cleaner, sterilization, etc.?
7. Application method – How will the adhesive be applied – manually or by an automatic manufacturing process?
Material recommendations for adhesives.
Hopefully, this list gives you a better idea of what to consider when selecting an adhesive. However, there’s no substitute for real experience. At Tapecon, we have extensive materials expertise and close relationships with the leading manufacturers. Using this experience, we can provide material recommendations and conduct testing to help you find the ideal adhesive for your application. From there, we can bring your component to life through a variety of custom converting techniques.
Get started with adhesives.
At Tapecon, we have over 100 years of experience helping customers solve their complex product challenges. Learn more about our custom materials converting services.