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Adhesives and Sealants

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TWI has been at the forefront of adhesives and sealants technology for decades and is now respected internationally as a leader in these areas.

Adhesives selection and development

Use of adhesives is becoming ever more widespread, particularly in industrial sectors that require the joining of dissimilar materials. We help Members understand and adopt best practice and make best use of adhesion-related and adhesive bonding technologies, in order to boost performance and reduce expenditure.

TWI offers a range of services and capabilities ranging from material selection and testing to pre-treatments including traditional chemical processes alongside more innovative technologies like plasma pre-treatment.

We also provide surface characterisation and optimisation (eg surface free energy, infrared spectroscopy), accelerated ageing trials and bulk polymer characterisation (fluid sensitivity trials), mechanical testing, non-destructive testing and training.

TWI's work is unbiased and confidential, and our comprehensive package of services enables companies to:

  • Improve quality and reduce costs
  • Increase competitive advantage
  • Develop and innovate new products and technologies

We take the difficulty out of selecting the appropriate adhesive or sealant by leveraging our experience, and deep understanding of this area of technology, to identify the best option for a specific application.

Sealant services

A sealant's primary function is to seal or provide a barrier between the surface of one structure and either an environment or the surface of another structure. The way in which this is achieved varies depending upon the form and chemistry of the material, which in turn determines which sealant is used and how it is applied.

Sealants often have lower hardness and internal strength than adhesives, but they have a very different function: to seal and act as a barrier, rather than to withstand a load.

When selecting an adhesive or sealant, factors taken into consideration will include viscosity, flowability, cured hardness, gap-filling capability, cohesive strength, barrier properties, electrical properties, thermal properties and degassing ability.

Areas of focus for the industry include the ability to handle and dispense sealant effectively and to cure it rapidly at a time of choosing. Cost is another challenge, as sealants are often used in much larger quantities than adhesives.

Decades of experience

TWI is unique in bringing together expertise, understanding of the adhesion process, analytical equipment, diffusion characteristics testing and measurement of other distinct properties such as thermal conductivity.

Our work in this area has included the identification of cure-on-demand sealants for the aerospace sector, and the development of an automated system for dispensing pastes where stringing, access, cost and time are issues.

For more information, please email contactus@twi.co.uk.