Adhesives, Silicones & Sealants. The How to Guide.
Tips & Tricks Using Adhesives, Silicones & Sealants.
Many of us would have made use of an adhesive or a sealant over the years. Today we will be reviewing the dos and don’ts of using these all-important products. There is a wide range of adhesives, sealants, and silicone that offer an easy solution for numerous applications in the building and industrial fabrication industries. In many circumstances, these non-metallic substances have become the go-to product when it comes to glueing two surfaces or caulking up a joint. Adhesive glues and caulking sealants can bind or seal different materials together and distribute stress more broadly. They are cost effective and offer an aesthetic improvement over metal fasteners. This is a beginners guide to the dos and don’ts of adhesives, silicones, and caulk sealants. We shall be reviewing at an A to Z listing of popular terminology that relates to the world of sealants and adhesives - plus touching base with key pointers! The golden rule here is to take the time to read and understand the technical and safety sheets associated with these product, as there are many differences between products and manufacturers. Adhesive, silicone and sealant manufacturers like Bostik®, Soudal®, Sika®, Shelleys® and so much more have extensive online data with technical and safety data info. Otherwise feel free to chat with us or contact us.
Cleaning the surface.
Remove grime, oil, grease, and other residues from the surface as you will have a difficult time forming a solid bond without a clean base. To properly clean a surface for adhesives and sealants, follow these general steps:
Gather your supplies: You will need the following items: (a) Isopropyl alcohol or a suitable cleaning solvent. (b) Clean lint-free cloths. (c) Clean water (if required by the adhesive/sealant instructions). Stay away from petrol based products like white spirits, turps etc. Aerobolt's surface cleaner degreases and cleans up surface at the same time.
Pretest the cleaning solvent: Before applying the cleaning solvent to the entire surface, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn't cause any damage or discoloration.
Apply the cleaning solvent: Moisten a clean cloth with the chosen solvent (isopropyl alcohol or specific adhesive/sealant cleaner). Pour the product onto the cloth rather than dip the cloth into the solvent. Gently wipe in one direction, and wipe off in another direction with another cloth. This is called the 2-rag method. Change cloths on a regular basis. Avoid excessive scrubbing, as it may damage the surface.
Plastic coated metal sheets will require the foregoing cleaning process even if the material looks prestine. It may look clean but the chemicals associated with the protective plastic coatings tends to negate a number of adhesives.
Remember to always refer to the specific adhesive or sealant manufacturer's instructions for the recommended cleaning procedure. Different adhesives and sealants may have specific cleaning requirements, and it's essential to follow their guidelines for optimal bonding or sealing results.
Curing means to dry and is simply done by most sealants and adhesives drawing moisture from the air. Adhesives, and sealants are formulated with moisture curing technology that reacts with atmospheric moisture to initiate the chemical cross-linking of the ingredients to cure. As the ingredients cross-link they build internal strength and creates the chemical bond required for these products to work.
With moisture curing adhesives like MS Polymer Bond Flex or Polyurethane Matrix FC its important that air reach the adhesive when you have completed the work. These products can take as little as 24 hours to cure, or longer depending on the gauge and width of the product. When bonding two large layers apply the adhesive in numerous thin beads rather than a single thick bead so air can reach the product.
Fast Track Curing.
Accelerating the curing process of sealants and adhesives can be achieved through several methods. Here are a few techniques that can help expedite the curing time:
Once exposed to atmospheric moisture, adhesives and sealants begin curing from the outside in. “Skin time” measures the time between application and the formation of the skin as the outermost layer cures. As the skin develops, the applied adhesive or sealant rapidly loses its ability to bond to secondary substrates and is more difficult to tool.
Most sealants and adhesives cure at the rate of 2-3mm per 24 hours, and this is the reason they will not last forever in the tube. They tend to have an even shorter shelf life in hot and humid conditions. Storing them in a cool location or a cool room will help extend their shelf life. Keeping nozzles attached will help them cure slowly. Refrain from opening the tubes until you are ready to use them.
Can I use a sealant or adhesive past its best before date?
A sealant or adhesive that is past best its best before date means its properties can't be ensured, however a sealant stored under ideal conditions can remain effective for many months after its expiry. Conversely, sealants stored in overly hot conditions can expire long before the stated expiry date.
Store in a cool location, off the ground.
When applying these products ensure you are working within the recommended temperature range.
Use Masking Tape For Straight Caulking Application.
Apply the professional masking tape to cover both sides of the line to be sealed; apply the sealant across the area, and then remove the tape before the sealant is dry. It is the same concept as cutting when painting and allows you to create a clean finish instantly.
Gluing two pieces of metal together is different from using glue with paper and waiting for it to dry on its own. Pressure must be applied to ensure the bond formed is as strong as possible. A vise or clamp can hold the pieces together with firm pressure so that the adhesive can bond to the metal surfaces which have been prepared prior. Wait as long as possible before removing the clamp and allow the adhesive ample time to dry. Do not hasten the process, Otherwise, you will have problems.
Ready to Get Started?
Whether you're ready to order your adhesive or you have questions you'd like to talk about with a product specialist, contact us. Aerobolt makes the process of selecting and installing the right product easy. We offer a variety of proven solutions that suit most applications, from attaching a sign to a truch door to the highly specialised panel bonding requirements with our renowed Bond Flex. All our sealants and adhesives products provide the highest performance in adhesion, weatherability and durability. Our expert team is on hand to help you in any current or upcoming project.
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