What Are Structural Adhesives?

Structural adhesives can offer stronger bonds than mechanical fasteners.

A structural adhesive is a “load-bearing” adhesive that is used to bond a joint and is capable of holding two or more substrates together under stress. These joints are the most important bonds in a product because failure can be catastrophic to the product’s structure and function. When a product is exposed to vibration, shock, chemicals, temperature deviations, or other types of weakening or destructive agents within specified tolerance levels, a properly applied structural adhesive should remain securely bonded.

Structural adhesives can join parts without interfering or detracting from their finish or aesthetics like welding or mechanical fasteners.

There are several reasons why structural adhesives are chosen for a wide variety of assembly operations. Unlike mechanical fasteners, they don’t damage substrates by needing drilled holes, and there’s no heat distortion (a risk with welding). They can also join dissimilar materials without galvanic corrosion, work with different geometries, and don’t concentrate stress at a few localized spots, thus increasing fatigue resistance. And after the joining processes, structural adhesives don’t require refinishing steps or leave protrusions, so they are aesthetically more pleasing.

Compared to other types of adhesives, structural adhesives have the highest load-bearing capabilities; boast excellent environmental and chemical resistance, with no solvent emissions to deal with; and come with a range of cure times and properties. They cure in an irreversible process which helps provide excellent temperature and solvent resistance. They also do not need access to air to dry or cure, nor moisture like one-part silicone and polyurethane sealants.

In fact, structural adhesives have such a wide range of characteristics that engineers may have difficulty selecting which structural adhesive to use. Compared to other adhesives, however, structural adhesives are less intuitive to use and their performance is widely affected by processing decisions. Here are some tips on choosing structural adhesives and how to handle processing decisions.

Selecting a Structural Adhesive
Talking with suppliers’ technical engineers or outside consultants can provide insights regarding structural adhesives. However, in many cases, preliminary decisions are made before talking with others, or else applications are too sensitive to discuss with outsiders. In these cases, there are a few general principles for choosing structural adhesives.

The first is that structural adhesives should be chosen based on the application’s performance and processing requirements. Once these are known, the next step is choosing the adhesive which most economically meets those requirements.

Replace Welds, Rivets & Fasteners with Structural Adhesives
With more than 10 years of experience in developing and manufacturing industrial adhesive solutions, our extensive line of acrylic, epoxy, and urethane adhesives improve appearance, strength, and durability, while offering you design flexibility and total cost savings. Compared to traditional fastening methods such as rivets, welds, and tapes, DeepMaterial Structural Adhesives eliminate the costs associated with metal preparation and finishing operations to improve your manufacturing processes.

DeepMaterial Structural Adhesives
DeepMaterial Structural Bonding Adhesives replace traditional welding and fasteners as a more cost-effective option, without compromising a quality bond. These adhesives are available in acrylic, epoxy, and urethane chemistries and serve electric industries.


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