Most Common Types of Glue
Looking for the proper adhesive agent can be perplexing when faced with numerous different brands and types of glue on the shelf at the hardware store. To help find the right glue for the project in mind, you will need to know how to distinguish one type from the next.
An adhesive agent is one that serves to bond two separate items together. There are eight basic varieties of glue from which all adhesive products spring. The reason that there are so many varieties is due to the diversity in materials as well as the bonding process molecularly speaking. Molecules, which possess both a positive and a negative end, are present in virtually everything. A long, complicated chemical process occurs but, in short, opposites attract; a positive end of one molecule becomes attracted to the negative end of another. While this is one theory as to how glue works, it is not the only or the complete theory. If the molecular attraction were the only consideration, then only one glue type would be needed. The variations in the molecular composition of different materials must be compatible as well in order for bonding to take place.
Actually, there are numerous theories as to how glue works; obviously, a gray area in scientific explanations. It is known, however, that variety is needed. The original adhesive agents were obtained from nature; beeswax, tar, animal by-products and plant derivatives. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that manufactured adhesives came into existence.
The major types of glue are: water base, thermal, dual part, moisture cure, ultraviolet cure, cyanoacrylate, anaerobic and film.
- Thermal adhesives work through the process of heating and cooling. Waxes and hot glue sticks are examples of this type.
- Dual part glues have, as indicated by the name, two separate elements that interact with each other to form a bond. Epoxy glue is a two part adhesive, as is polyurethane.
- Moisture cure adhesives work by extracting moisture from the atmosphere or from the two objects to become a binding agent. Uses for these types of glue are sealants and caulking.
- Ultraviolet cure adhesives form a cross link when exposed to ultraviolet light. These are fast acting when conditions are right.
- Cyanoacrylate adhesives react with moisture from the opposing elements to form a rapid bond; used for quick and long lasting fixes.
- Anaerobic adhesives form the best bond in the absence of oxygen. They are often used in plumbing and mechanical tasks to lock threads of bearings, shafts and hardware.
- Film adhesives are those which are used on release paper products; signs, letters and such.
Determining which of these glues would be the right one to use for a particular project will depend upon the nature of that project and the elements needing to be bonded. When in doubt, the instructions printed on the packaging of the glues should clearly state the applications that are suited for that particular product.
The type of material that requires bonding will also need to be considered when choosing the glue. Children know that it takes common white glue to bond their cutout flowers and stars to sheets of construction paper when making their artistic masterpiece to display on the refrigerator. It is not strong enough, though, to bind plastic pieces of a model car together. Plastic needs an adhesive that will “melt” the two surfaces slightly and then re-bond them together. Each glue variety will have the same comparison values.
Knowing how different types of glue perform will help to identify the proper one to use on your project. Rather than allow the numerous varieties to perplex and frustrate, your knowledge will help you choose the correct glue for the right application.