What are Water-Based Adhesives?

July 24 2019

Water based adhesives are a common alternative to Solvent Based Adhesives. They offer eco-friendly properties, not possible with alternatives. They offer zero to low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These adhesives are found in the manufacturing of complex laminates.

Water based adhesives are made from a combination of water, polymers and additives. The polymers may be derived from synthetic or natural sources and are ideal for porous or non-porous substrates. These adhesives are formulated as emulsions, solutions, or powders. They are activated as the water evaporates or is absorbed by the substrate. In much the same way as hot melts use heat as the “carrier”, water based adhesives use water and leave a polymer adhesive film behind once the water is eliminated.

Water Based Adhesives in our Daily Lives

Water based adhesives hold much of what we buy together. This adhesive accounts for only 2% of products that you buy. If the adhesion fails, many of the products you buy may fall apart.

Products from car seats, joinery, food packaging and office chairs, rely on adhesives to hold them together. A cushion relies on an adhesive to adhere the fabric to the seat. Remove the adhesive and the cover will move every time you sit on the chair. This would leave an uncomfortable seat that could provide a safety risk in an accident if in a vehicle.

When at home, it may surprise you how many items rely on adhesives. Insulation panels in your walls and ceilings, doors and windows all rely on water-based adhesives to keep your home secure and sealed. Your furniture will use water-based adhesives to keep them strong and secure. Many new technologies such as mobile phones, computers, and iPads rely on water based adhesives to keep the device sealed and secure in packaging during transit.

The food and packaging industries use water based adhesives for sealing and packing a wide range of food products. Everything from the boxes that transport your apples, to the adhesive for sealing your sliced ham can all be found using water-based adhesives.

Key characteristics of Water Based Adhesives:

  1. Contains water
  2. Sets through evaporation / penetration
  3. Requires at least one absorbent / porous substrate
  4. Prepared using natural or synthetic ingredients
  5. Forms bond through mechanical and/or specific adhesion

Typical backbone polymers found in Water-based Adhesives include:

Industries & Applications for Water-Based Adhesives include:

At Action Adhesives we stock a range of water-based adhesives for your every need. From construction, to woodworking and to packaging, we have you covered. To learn more contact our team below.