About 18.2kg of glue is used every year per person. You wouldn’t think it would be that much! However, when you think about what it’s used for, it all makes sense. Furniture, books, shoes, plumbing and vehicles are just a few examples of where you would find glue being used in their construction. Glues come from natural sources whereas adhesives are made by using chemicals. Adhesives can be called epoxies, sealants or caulks and are chemical compounds with special additives to make them good for specific uses. For metal bonding adhesive, visit http://www.ct1ltd.com/.
Furniture making relies on glues a great deal. Glue is often used in furniture to provide permanent fixing or can be used on a temporary basis while another fixing is prepared. From the 16th century onwards, all the prominent furniture makers used glue in construction, including Chippendale. These glues were animal derivatives made from hooves, hides and other parts that had been reduced to jelly and then dried. This was ground into powder, added to water and heated in a glue pot. It wasn’t particularly effective and wasn’t waterproof but it was all that was available until World War I.
Advances in the chemical industries during the 1930’s led to a range of materials called adhesives or synthetic resin glues. World War II also resulted in advances in neoprenes, epoxies and acrylonitriles. Originally used by the military, they were not available to the public until the 1950’s. Since this time waterproof adhesives have been developed which have proved very useful for many industries and could be used for specific applications such as building the Space Shuttle.
Glues are used in woodworking and for making abrasive material like sandpaper. They are also used in industrial processes where they are added to liquids to separate out solid particles which can then be removed. This process is needed either to clean the liquid or to process the solids. Comparing natural glue and adhesives is tricky because they are good at different things. Vegetable or animal glues are inexpensive to make and environmentally friendly but tend to have lower resistance to moisture, heat and chemicals. Synthetic adhesives can however be designed with specific properties, ease of application and a long lasting life.
Adhesives come in different forms as well. Cellulose is derived from trees and can be used to make adhesives but is normally chemically processed to create methyl cellulose glues. These have higher grade bonding properties. They make great stickers, labels, decals, wallpapers and other paper items. It can also be used as a thickener in food due to it’s hypoallergenic and non-toxic qualities.
When rubber is processed and combined with additives, it’s properties change and provide excellent adhesion qualities, increased temperature resistance and higher strength. Rubber adhesives include styrene, polysulfide, polyamide and silicone. Environmental awareness is leading a demand for eco-adhesives based on renewable materials that are non-toxic and don’t need any special disposal rules. Adhesives such as these are less dangerous to manufacturing staff, non-toxic for consumers and also non-flammable.