3 Tips for Using a Water Based Adhesive

Water based adhesives are solvent-free adhesives that use water as a carrier and are set when the water evaporates. Their being solvent-free comes as a great advantage as they are devoid of flammable materials and can be used and stored in appropriate places (like an art and craft classroom for kids) without fear. Knowing the types of adhesives and their appropriate application helps even more however.

Tip # 1: Use the Correct Type of Water Based Adhesive

There are four kinds of water based adhesives, and all can be used for different things. 

Vegetable Glues

These are adhesives that are based on starch and can be used as a highly-viscous jelly-like version too. They are mainly used as a low-cost adhesive for paper-bonding, packaging and labeling and provide a long-term bond for those materials and a relatively weak bond for others. It usually breaks down when exposed to water.

Resin Cements

These are adhesives which are based on an emulsion PVA (Poly Vinyl Acetate) or EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) mixed in water to form an emulsion. Some resin cements are useful for bonding some plastics, paper and wood and have a relatively higher moisture resistance than vegetable glues. The adhesives are white when wet and clear when dry. Hybrid glue can also be used by mixing vegetable glues and resin cements. Moreover, a relatively new use for resin cements has been found in the field of restorative dentistry in attaching prostheses to tooth structure.

Animal/Protein Glues

These are glues made by utilizing animal protein. Glue that is made from animal milk is called casein glue. Animal protein glues are used when hot (around 140°F) for materials that need a quick bond. Casein is a highly moisture-resistant water based adhesive and is used for labeling beer and wine bottles usually.

Latex Cements

Latex Cements are made from emulsified elastomers. These water based adhesives are white in color and can be used as a two-way adhesive i.e. they can be applied to a surface and allowed to dry on the surface while the part of the adhesive exposed to air remains sticky. Latex cements are usually used on self-stick envelopes and sometimes for binding leather and other fabrics. One popular type of latex cement is called Rubber Cement and can be used for bonding paper and photographs and has a long shelf-life.

Tip # 2: Performance

You must choose your adhesive based on the performance you intend on taking out from it. Consider the strength of the bond you are looking for, the types of materials you wish to bind, temperature and other conditions that the bonded materials will be exposed to and the expected life of the adhesive.

Tip # 3: Drying and Curing

Again, the type of job you are looking to perform with your chosen adhesive will also influence your decision about the drying and setting time you’re looking for. Different water based adhesives are produced using different oven techniques and have varying resulting drying and curing rates.