Adhesives and sealants are an essential
asset of every maintenance and operation
plan, and with technology and products
always changing, it’s important to stay on
top of these trends. By Tia Nowack
When applied correctly, adhesives and sealants can improve quipment reliability, lower
operating costs, and save large amounts of
time and money. Depending on the type of
adhesive or sealant that you select, they can
be used for equipment repairs, filling gaps,
bonding materials, and locking and sealing
threaded fasteners. To ensure that you’re
using these products correctly, it’s important
to understand the differences in various
adhesives, how long they last, and what
changes are coming.
The Right Product For The Job
There are six general categories of adhesives, and each was designed with a different purpose in mind. Let’s take a look at
what each type offers:
• Acrylic adhesives cure rapidly at room
temperature for a weather resistant bond.
They boast tensile, shear, and peel strength
combined with maximum impact, stress,
and shock resistance. Acrylic adhesives
are the best choice for bonding two dissimilar materials.
• Instant adhesives, or cyanoacrylates, are
extremely popular due to their fast cure
rate. Consumers can buy these adhesives,
commonly called “Super Glue,” almost
anywhere, but a high-performance version
is most commonly used for industrial uses.
• Epoxies are one of the most effective
choices for filling large gaps, and are often
found in hybrid forms. By adding other
chemicals to the basic epoxy resin, developers can impact elasticity, viscosity, heat
resistance, and more.
• Urethanes are repair materials that can be
troweled, cast, or brush-applied to rebuild
or protect critical operating equipment.
Their rubber-like properties provide protection from impact, abrasion, and corrosion.
• Another rubber-like adhesive, RTV silicone, has excellent resistance to heat and
moisture which makes it especially suited
for outdoor applications.
• Lastly, anaerobic adhesives remain liquid
as long as they are exposed to air, and
solidify in the absence of air and in the
presence of most metals. They are often
used as threadlockers and are known for
Choosing the right product is essential,
but is becoming increasingly difficult as the
variety of adhesives and sealants expand.
According to Peter Leal, ITW Brands Red
Head Product Manager, here are some guidelines, specifically for building construction
Strength: Bond strength must be calculated
for every specific application.
Building Codes: Adhesives for building construction must comply with local and state
building codes. These codes change, so be sure
to do your research to ensure compliance.
Temperature: Epoxies generally will not cure
at temperatures below 40 degrees F. If you are
in a cold environment, acrylics should be used.
Moisture: Outside construction projects, in the
event of rain, should use an adhesive that is
designed for use in water filled holes and submerged conditions.
Test: All sealants and adhesives should also be
tested to ensure their effectiveness.
How Long Will It Last?
Generally, concrete adhesives are designed
to be permanent, and should last indefinitely.
Cured adhesives can be visually evaluated by
looking for cracks in the adhesive.
“Shelf life varies depending on chemis-
try, package type, and storage conditions,”
Maps incorporates new data on earthquake
rates and associated ground shaking, which
include regions in the Central U.S. and South
Carolina, for example.
“Also, potential climate change may cause
hurricanes to move further up the northern
coast and further inland, which will cause
these regions to require adoption of building
codes for cracked concrete,” Leal says. “Future
adhesives will need to be building code
approved, stronger, and crack resistant.”