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Bonding Low Surface Energy Materials

Jan. 25, 2022
Adhesive solutions to "stick to the unstickable".

Getting things to stick has been a challenge for product designers and engineers as long as adhesives have been around, and making matters worse is the proliferation of advanced materials.

Engineered plastics and thermoplastics such as Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO), Polypropylene (PP), and Polyethylenes (e.g. HDPE) are being used now more than ever to reduce weight, improve performance, durability, aesthetics, and control costs in consumer and industrial products.

These polymers are flexible, durable, and resistant to moisture, heat, and solvents. Yet, due to a phenomenon referred to as low-surface energy, they are difficult to stick to—a trait that can create assembly challenges for product design engineers who prefer adhesives to mechanical fasteners.

This paper will discuss the benefits of adhesives, highlight the importance of surface energy, dive into the science of adhesion, and introduce some pressure-sensitive tapes and adhesives that have been designed specifically for low surface energy (LSE) applications.  

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