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Adhesives Ingredients

Select Surfactants for Adhesives and Sealants

This guide endeavors to direct the formulator through the process of selecting surfactants that are used for a number of functions related to surface tension in adhesive and sealant formulations. It focuses on fundamentals of surfactants, their classification & working mechanism, benefits they impart to the formulations and recent trends driving development of new surfactants. Read on to select surfactant that best suits your adhesive/ sealant formulation.

Benefits of Surfactants in Adhesives

Surfactants for Adhesives and SealantsSurfactants are used in both waterborne and solvent-based adhesive formulations. In solvent systems their primary use is as a dispersing agent. In waterborne systems they provide multiple functions as discussed in this Guide.

In adhesive formulations, surfactants are used to change many applications and end properties. They are used by the adhesive formulators to provide the following characteristics without negatively impacting adhesion:

  • Reduce surface tension to extremely low values for improved substrate wetting
  • Help to avoid defects occurring in the adhesive coating– especially on contaminated or difficult surfaces
  • Improve flow
  • Wetting and dispersion of additives
  • Stability of pigments and latex particles
  • Defoaming

They are also used by the latex raw material manufacturer to emulsify polymers in their liquid state and to provide the following characteristics:

  • Formation of micelles, where the polymerization reaction takes place
  • Protection of the polymer particles from agglomeration due to external stress (e.g., temperature during storage, high shear during application, etc.)
  • Significant reduction in surface tension
  • Prevent excessive foaming

Drawbacks of Using Surfactants in Adhesive Formulations


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