How hybrid adhesives become the best of both worlds

You may have recently seen the LOCTITE’s videos of pulling trains or trucks with hybrid adhesives generated. Perhaps it’s time for us to have a few more words about what hybrid adhesives really are and what makes them special.

Like many other human inventions, hybrid adhesives came to be as a reaction to the need or, if you will, a problem that needed to be solved. Generally, in the world of bonding there are two main sides of what adhesives can do. On one side there are instant adhesives, based on cyanoacrylate technology, which are easy to use, bond really fast and are therefore known also in consumer, household use and by do it yourself-ers as the so called super-glue. They have their rightful place also in engineering, due to their safe and simple use, quick curing and high performance on plastics which are nowadays one of the most common materials in industrial use. However, they lack in flexibility and gap filling properties.

On the other end of the scale, are so called structural bonders. In terms of chemistry, they can be epoxy, acrylic, polyurethane, silicone or SMP (silane modified polymer) based. Their strongest traits are, apart from excellent structural performance that gives the range the name, high gap filling properties, excellent performance on metals and environmental durability.

From everything said, it’s fairly obvious that the two ranges of adhesives will be used in practically opposite situations. But naturally, the engineering reality doesn’t always fall into one of these two extremes. There are certainly cases when you might need to fill a small gap, while you still need the adhesive to cure fairly quickly. Plastic does not always get bonded to other plastics, sometimes you need to bond it to a metal or a composite material, and you’ll need your part to be durable and resistant to environmental influences.

This reality is what the chemists in Loctite research & development had in mind when they created the first hybrid adhesive. Not only did they succeed in creating an adhesive that has structural and environmental durability, universal adhesion to multitude of substrates and cures fast through high gap, but they also managed in making it one of the safest adhesives to handle in terms of minimised health hazards.

This technology is completely innovative and we are discovering new possibilities with it almost on daily basis. One of the most common challenges in modern manufacturing is joining of two or more materials of very different characteristics. This is usually a challenge for the traditional methods as well, not only for bonding. Different materials mean different adhesion properties, but can also mean different reactions to thermal cycling, humidity, impact stress, or any number of other factors to which the final product might be subjected.

Hybrid adhesives tackle this challenge because they adhere well to a huge multitude of substrates and withstand well the majority of mentioned factors. Bonding of dissimilar substrates is most often a requirement in the production of indoor and outdoor signage and advertising elements, bonding of equipment tags and RFID tags and in the production of special architecture, like awning arms, railings and the like.

Another common requirement in, for example, production of heavy lifting equipment, street furniture, conveyor belt frames and fitness equipment is impact strength in general. Which is also where hybrid adhesives will perform considerably better than other technologies. If you need to pair that with fast curing, chemical, heat or moisture resistance, you’ll often find a hybrid adhesive is your only choice. Some of the typical examples are vibration dampers, magnetic motors, electric scooters, vending machines, plumbing production, building construction, elevator panels etc.

You can choose from several Loctite grades, depending on whether you’re designing something new or repairing existing parts. For more information, visit www.loctite.com.au or email loctite.enquiries@henkel.com.