Adhesive and sealant manufacturers produce products that are used to bind materials together. They are in high demand by industries that include automotive, packaging, aerospace and construction. As such, these businesses are often subject to supply chain issues. These issues may be caused by natural disasters such as the pandemic or by weather patterns that impact the production of raw materials needed to make adhesives and sealants. The largest adhesive and sealant manufacturers in the United States make a wide range of products that are used across multiple sectors.
The flexibility of a sealant is an important consideration in many applications, particularly those that involve movement and vibration. A sealant should have sufficient flexibility to accommodate some movement, but not so much that it is susceptible to stress fracture or slumping. This is achieved by adding fillers or plasticizers to the base polymer if the sealant is a liquid or modifying the formulation if it is a solid.
Flexibility is also an important consideration in selecting a sealant for watertight sealing of joints. The best way to test flexibility is by looking at the product’s ASTM C920 performance specification, which should be listed on the label or TDS (Technical Data Sheet). A higher “class” number indicates a greater degree of flexibility.
The ability of a sealant to adhere to its substrates is important, especially when it will be exposed to chemicals or other contaminants. The manufacturer should provide information about the adhesion to various substrates, including concrete, masonry and wood. The manufacturer should also note whether the product is compatible with the expected exposure conditions, such as temperature, light and moisture.
It is helpful to know the physical and chemical properties of a sealant, but it is equally important to understand the movement capabilities of a sealant for an application. It is also good to have a realistic understanding of the expected movement that will be experienced in the joint, and it helps to have a list of common movement requirements that can be compared against a sealant’s capability.
A number of factors must be considered when selecting a sealant, including the expected movements, substrates, environment, production requirements and economic costs. Some sealants are designed for specific applications, while others are compromise formulations that meet a number of different standards. The most effective choice will depend on the specific application, the environmental constraints, production and installation costs and economic constraints. Choosing the most appropriate sealant will require a combination of knowledge, experience and the right tools for the job. This will help ensure the project is completed on time, within budget and with a quality result.