Gluing Plastic

Gluing Plastic

Gluing Plastic with industrial glues

Gluing plastics is a growing market in Ireland. In particular, the sign & display sector has seen very strong growth.

There are a range of adhesives suitable for gluing plastics. The choice of adhesive depends on the method of application and the ultimate function of the bonded parts. As an example, in the display sector, there is always a strong requirement for clear joints, which can be formed quickly. This is a critical requirement as manufactured units typically have several glue points and fact drying adhesives are a prerequisite. Of course, all adhesives used in sign sector may need the ultimate in overall weather resistance

For the most durable bonds possible, we always recommend some type of surface preparation. Surface preparation techniques will

We recommend abrading & solvent wiping for the plastic being bonded.

Consistent bond line thickness of the adhesive is critical. Without uniform adhesive thickness, the strength of the joint is only as strong as the weakest point. Maintain film thickness using shims, beaded adhesive or structural tapes.

Maintain uniform clamping pressure to achieve optimum adhesive wet-out and fully optomise the bond strength. Avoid pressures in excess of 50 psi as a starved joint may result.

Solvent wiping using cheesecloth damped with solvent. Depending on the materials to be degreased our X35, T160 or T559 may be used. The double wipe method is recommended (wipe with a solvent saturated cloth followed by a wipe with a clean cloth).

Abrading and degreasing is enough surface preparation for all but the most demanding industrial applications. If these materials are being bonded together, a change in the surface properties may be required to get good adhesion. Specifically, these plastics are considered low surface energy materials and altering the surface to increase the surface energy will be required in some cases.

This involves using:

  • Solvent wiping (almost always)
  • X90 plastic primer
  • Scorching the surface
  • Grit blasting
  • Or acid etching the surface

Because all materials are slightly different, please consult the Glue Guru for the most effective way to treat the material for best adhesion glueguru@wipolymers.ie

Chemistry Grading

  • Fair
  • Good
  • Excellent

Material Type

Surface Preparation Required

Adhesive Suggested Chemistry

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene     (ABS) Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component epoxy
  • Two component polyurethane
  • Two component acrylic, Cyanoacrylate
Acetal Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate. Very difficult to bond to.
Acrylic Degrease with Z100. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component epoxy, two component polyurethane
  • Two component acrylic, Cyanoacrylate.
Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) Degrease with T160. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Cyanoacrylate
  • Two component polyurethane, two component acrylic.
Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) Not required
  • Two component acrylic
  • Two component epoxy
  • Cyanoacrylate, UV cure
Nylon Must be fully dry. Degrease with T160. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component acrylic, two component polyurethane.
Polyethylene Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Modified acrylic
Polyphenylene Oxide (PPO) Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate. Very difficult to bond to
Polypropylene Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate. Very difficult to bond to
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate. Very difficult to bond to
Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate. Very difficult to bond to
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Degrease with X35. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate. Very difficult to bond to
Polyurethane Degrease with Z100. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component acrylic
  • Two component epoxy
  • Cyanoacrylate
Polystyrene (Rigid) Not required
  • Two component acrylic
  • Two component polyurethane
  • Two component epoxy
Phenolic Degrease with T556. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component polyurethane
  • Two component acrylic
  • Two component epoxy
Polyester Degrease with T556. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component polyurethane
  • Two component acrylic
  • Two component epoxy
Polycarbonate Degrease with T556.
  • Two component acrylic
  • Cyanoacrylate
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Rigid Degrease with T160. Abrasion may be required with P100 or P150 paper. Degrease again.
  • Two component epoxy
  • Two component acrylic
  • PVC
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Flexible Degrease with T160.
  • Nitrile
Silicone Degrease with T160. Abrasion may be required with P150 paper. Prime with X90.
  • Cyanoacrylate.Difficult to bond to.

For bonding small plastic components, cyanoacrylate super-glue is possibly the best option. These adhesives come in a range of viscosities form high viscosity gel type products to water thin wicking grades, very commonly used in the craft & hobby sector. Our X60 cyanoacrylate adhesive finds particular use in bonding many plastics.

For clear plastic substrates, such as Makrolon®, we would suggest our X110 adhesive which cures quickly when exposed to UV light and slower when exposed to fluorescent light.

For structural bonding of plastics and in particular composites, either structural methacrylate or structural epoxy products are used. These can be either 10:1 mixing ratio or 1:1 mixing ratio.  Methacrylate adhesives for bonding plastics & composites are at the core of. These adhesives offer excellent resistant properties to fatigue, peel & shear and environmental resistance.

For bonding large composite parts any of our 1:1 or 10: 1mixing ratio products are suitable. These adhesives give a working time of 12 minutes to 130 minutes and they are used where the glue line or where good gap filling is required. These products are typically used to bond composite parts such as turbine blades, composite doors and in the boat building / repair sector. An emerging market for our products is the renewable energy market. X11 has established itself in the marine and turbine blade sector. These adhesives are also suitable for bonding Fibre Reinforced plastics (FRP), ABS, Vinyl Ester, polyester and epoxy.

Bonding medium size substrates, particularly polycarbonate, ABS or GRP, our X10 or X170 or suggested where a non sag glue-line is needed. This is a thixotropic two component epoxy adhesive paste with extremely high shear & peel strength. The product has non slump characteristics and an excellent flow property which gives excellent gunability. It has excellent resistance to humidity, fuels and oils.

Bonding medium size to small composite parts may be achieved with the use of our X10 or X15 two component 1:1 mix ratio methacrylate adhesives. This adhesive finds extensive use in bonding composite materials such as Corian®. Where a longer working time is required, we suggest either X12 (2 to 5  minute working time) or X11 (4 to 6 minute working time).

Bonding in the marine sector is the territory of X09. This adhesive is bright white and is available in two working times, 14 minute and 40 minute.

Bonding low energy plastics such as Polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC, Thermoplastic Olefins as best accomplished with X07 Ultimate Plastic Bonder. This adhesive will also work with bonding exotic plastics to dissimilar substrates.

X95 is a steel filled epoxy glue, designed specifically for use in the metal & composite bonding & filling sector. The product is typically used to fill gaps & cracks in most rigid composite plastics.

The selection of the correct adhesive depends on the materials being bonded, and in particular the working times & fixture times available in the manufacturing environment.

To achieve optimum plastic & composite bonding, it is important to abrade the surface, clean the surface to remove debris, use the correct adhesive, maintain the adhesive film thickness, provide constant & uniform clamping pressure, cure the adhesive under the correct conditions.