Hot-melt adhesive

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A thermoplastic adhesive that is applied hot and forms an adherent bond when cooled. Since antiquity, waxes have been used as hot melt adhesives for sealing letters. The use of synthetic materials for hot melt adhesives was developed in the 1960s.

Hot-melt adhesives fall into three major classes:

1) polyethylene homopolymers,

2) polyethylene/vinyl acetate copolymers and

3) polyamides (nylons).

Polyethylene homopolymers melt at low temperatures and are used for sealing boxes and bags. Nylons melt at high temperatures and are used in special cases, such as for furniture, shoes and clothing. Ethylene copolymers are the most versatile of the three types. They exhibit good adhesion and have moderate melting temperatures. Ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers can be formulated to remain soft and tacky or to become hard, rigid. Many formulations contain waxes, plasticizers, fillers and antioxidants. Some other synthetic resins, such as polyurethanes, polyesters and polyimides have been used for special application hot-melt adhesives.

Hot Melt Adhesives bond to a wide variety of substrates such as corrugated, beadboard, repacking chipboard, recouperage, wood and many other lightweight materials.

Synonyms and Related Terms

hot melt adhesives; hot glue; hot-glue; adhesivo que funde por calentamiento (Esp.)

Products: Elvax [DuPont]; Ultrathene [USI]; 3M Hot-melt glue sticks; Jet-Melt #3764 [3M]; Bostick #6363; Evostik #7702;

Resources and Citations

  • J.D.Domine, R.H.Schaufelberger, "Ethylene Copolymer Based Hot Melt Adhesives" in Handbook of Adhesives, I.Skeist (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1977, p.495-506.
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Irving Skeist, Handbook of Adhesives, Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, New York, 1977
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988

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