Contact adhesive: How temperature can affect adhesion?

Hello South Africa, how is winter treating you? Is it more difficult to get out of the bed in the morning? The days are shorter and the nights longer, it feels natural for all of us to enter a state of semi-hibernation until the world warms up again.  

Winter affects us in a very tangible way, and if you work with your hands frequently you may have noticed it affects your projects too. Adhesives are one of the factors that may be less effective in winter. The best way to ensure you are still receiving an industrial-quality bond when you need it is to familiarise yourself with the different types of adhesives and their bonding abilities in varying temperatures. To put it into perspective, there’s a bond for every occasion, and winter, like summer, is an occasion. It is also important to ensure an even coat of adhesive is applied. Excessive adhesive, also know as pooling, may lead to skinning and this creates solvent entrapment beneath the adhesive skin.

contact adhesive

Application of your adhesive

Now that you have a better understanding of the correct adhesive type to use in winter, let’s look at the best way to apply it to ensure you achieve a superior bond.

1. Porous and semi-porous materials

A porous or semi-porous surface tends to be absorbent. Wood, for example, might allow some of the adhesive to penetrate. This could result in a thinner layer of adhesive being applied, compromising the integrity of the bond. When you’re bonding a porous or semi-porous surface, apply an initial coat of adhesive. The second coat will ensure you have sufficient adhesive which will give you the strongest and most reliable bond.

2. Bond sooner rather than later

Waiting too long to bond can result in an inferior result. This can be affected by environmental factors, like if you work in an area where sawdust is common. Dust and small particles that settle on the bonding surface while you wait to bond will affect its strength.

3. Bond soon, but not too soon

In contrast to our previous tip, bonding too soon is also not advised particularly when dealing with Non-Porous Surfaces as it is important to allow any solvents to flash off first. The instructions that come with your contact adhesive usually have a little play on either side. If it is recommended to bond within minutes, waiting a little longer is usually okay. The best way to check if your adhesive is ready for bonding is to touch it. If it adheres to your finger it may be best to wait a little longer. The cooler the conditions the longer the drying time needs to be.

4. Bonus tip: Have you tried a paint roller?

A small paint roller is an unsung hero in the application process. It helps to create a smooth and even layer of adhesive while it helps to ensure you avoid making contact between your skin and the adhesive. Only use the same paint roller once.

Winter blues that don’t affect the quality of your work

Using your contact adhesive to get the best results in winter requires just a little extra know-how. Royal Adhesive Industries is determined to bring superior products to the market and provide you with the most professional insights for the best application and most reliable results. For more tips and ideas, sign up for our newsletter.