Just looking at the question above you will notice two very broad terms- “adhesive” and “strength”. There are thousands of adhesive formulations-structural systems (such as epoxies, acrylics, and polyurethanes), pressure-sensitive products (tapes), and a myriad of sealants. If you ask someone what they imagine adhesive strength means, they will typically say something like, “how well it bonds one thing to another.” That is a perfectly valid thought but a bit incomplete. For example, one adhesive might exhibit tremendous shear and tensile test values but might also be brittle and crack when exposed to excessive shock or vibration while a system with lower absolute tensile and shear values will handle the shock and vibration with no problems. So which system is stronger? Another adhesive system might demonstrate exceptional peel and shear strength when tested on one surface such as aluminum but fail miserably if the same aluminum has a powder coat paint applied. So the real question is, strong after exposure to what and in contact with what? Is it strong after underwater exposure? Strong after exposure to elevated or low temperatures? I recently attended a seminar for distributors and installers hosted by a premier supplier of architectural metal panel systems. This seminar featured “hands-on” instruction on installing several of their wall systems. One of the systems requires the use of a non-skinning butyl sealant along with a self-adhesive flashing tape on the interior corners. The butyl sealant would not be considered particularly “strong” with respect to tensile and shear values but it remains extremely flexible over its’ service life and offers superior ability to seal out water and prevent incursion into the building.
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