Breaking Down the Steps of Adhesive Bonding

Adhesive bonding is a manufacturing process in which two or more surfaces are joined using an adhesive. While glue is commonly used for this process, epoxy or other types of adhesives may be used as well. The adhesive, however, must bind to the surfaces on which it’s applied. While adhesive bonding may sound complicated, it’s actually a relatively simple manufacturing process that consists of just a few basic steps.

Step #1) Degreasing

The first step of adhesive bonding is degreasing. As the name suggests, this step involves the removal of all grease — as well as other contaminants — on the surfaces that will be joined. While small amounts of grease may sound harmless, it can reduce the bond created by the adhesive. Therefore, manufacturing companies must degrease the surfaces before applying the adhesive.

Degreasing is often performed using a solvent. Known as vapor degreasing, the surfaces are submerged in a solvent that dissolves grease and other contaminants. In addition to vapor degreasing, another degreasing method involves wiping the surfaces with a solvent-soaked cloth.

Step #2) Abrasion

The second step of adhesive bonding is abrasion. During this step, the surfaces are prepared by exposing them to abrasive material, such as sandpaper. The purpose of abrasion is to increase the surface area to which the adhesive will be exposed. By exposing the surfaces with an abrasive material, it becomes rough and rugged. In turn, the adhesive will spread to fill the micro-sized cracks and crevasses, allowing for a stronger bond.

Step #3) Adhesive

After the surfaces have been degreased and exposed to an abrasive material, the adhesive is applied. During this step, the adhesive is carefully applied to the surfaces. Adhesives can be organic or inorganic. Regardless, they must be able to create a strong enough hold to prevent the surfaces from separating.

Step #4) Curing

The fourth and final step of adhesive bonding is curing. Not all glues or adhesives require curing, but many do. Heating, for example, is a common curing method used in adhesive bonding. The adhesive is heated, resulting in a chemical reaction that strengthens its bond. To cure the adhesive, manufacturing companies typically place the workpieces in a large commercial drying oven where they are heated to a specific temperature.

To recap, adhesive bonding is a manufacturing process that involves the use of adhesive to join two or more surfaces. It consists four basic steps, including degreasing, abrasion, adhesive and curing.

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