Advantages and disadvantages of MS polymer adhesives

You have been researching MS polymer adhesives and now want to know whether they are a good fit for you. Often, it can be difficult to know where to find information that can help you decide whether this type of adhesive is a good fit for your application.

Adhesive manufacturers will often go into great detail about why MS polymer adhesives are so good. However, they forget that you are looking to find out if they are a good fit for you. You want to know the good and the bad about MS polymer adhesives.

Here at Forgeway, we manufacture hundreds of thousands of adhesive products every year. MS polymer adhesives are one of our most popular products. So it’s fair to say we know the good, the bad, and the ugly of the MS polymer adhesive category.

This article will discuss their advantages and disadvantages so that you can decide whether MS polymer adhesives are a good fit for you.

Advantages of MS polymer adhesives

They can seal as well as bond

You can get a variation of MS polymer products. There are some formulations of MS polymer products that are used in place of silicones because they are such good sealants. However, all MS polymer adhesives have the ability to seal.

They are very flexible

MS polymer adhesives often crop up in the discussion about whether strength or flexibility is more important in an adhesive. This is because you can get MS polymer adhesives that have very high flexibility. However, all MS polymer formulations will have good flexibility.

Glue applied to ABS
You need flexible adhesives when the bond comes under dynamic load

They have very good grab

When using an adhesive, sometimes you may need to use clamps or other devices to hold the substrates in place while the glue cures. Sometimes, you will have to use clamps for heavy substrates. However, with some MS polymer adhesive formulations, you will not need to use clamps as they have a very good grab.

You can paint over them

The problem with some other adhesives and sealants comes when you try to paint over them. Silicones in particular have this problem. However, you can overpaint all MS polymer adhesive formulations. They will not repel the paint in the same way as silicones and some other adhesives and sealants.

They are not harmful

MS polymer adhesives do not contain any harmful chemicals. They will not irritate the skin and they will not damage the environment. Most other adhesives will cause irritation or will cause harm in some way. MS polymers are one of the safest adhesives you can purchase.

They have good weathering resistance

Some adhesives and sealants cannot withstand the effects of weathering. They can start to ‘yellow’ and end up breaking down (degradation). This degradation will obviously impact the performance of the adhesive or sealant.

A good MS polymer adhesive can withstand the effects of weathering. If you are ever worried about the effects of weathering on your MS polymer adhesive, accelerated weathering testing will give you an idea about how the adhesive will perform.

ASTM G154 weathering testing will inform you about the weathering resistance of your adhesive

Disadvantages of using MS polymer adhesives

The cure time is often long

Whilst different variations of MS polymer adhesives will have different cure times, on average they are no quicker than other structural adhesives.

MS polymer adhesives and sealants require moisture to cure. So if there is a lack of moisture or they don’t have enough airflow, the adhesive will take longer to cure. MS polymer adhesives cure gradually. Methyl methacrylate adhesives have the opposite cure style as they have what’s called a ‘snap cure’.

So not only is MS polymer’s cure time relatively slow, it is inconsistent too.

Cannot achieve very high strengths

Even though some MS polymer adhesives are strong enough to be classed as ‘structural’, they still aren’t able to achieve as high strengths as other types of adhesives.

Typically, 5Mpa is the maximum strength you can get from MS polymer adhesives. To put that into context, methyl methacrylates epoxy adhesives can achieve tensile strengths of more than 25 Mpa.

Can be difficult to get a good finish

MS polymers are typically very viscous. Of course, some formulations have lower viscosity. However, as a rule of thumb, MS polymer adhesives will have high viscosity.

This is a problem when it comes to trying to clean off the excess adhesive from the substrates. It is a lot more difficult to remove than some other adhesives or sealants. The high viscosity and high grab mean it instantly sticks to the surface. This makes it difficult to remove.

Can be difficult to work with

The highly viscous nature of MS polymers can cause other problems too. When working with viscous adhesives, you will find it difficult to work with a manual applicator. Viscous adhesives need a non-manual applicator.

Non-manual applicators are best for highly viscous adhesives

The term ‘extrudability’ is often used in the context of ease of use. It basically refers to how easy it is to extrude the adhesive from the packaging (whether you choose foil packs or cartridges). Highly viscous adhesives are difficult to extrude.

MS polymer adhesives will often have a poor ‘extrudability’ score.

Deciding whether MS polymers are a good fit

Now that you have learned all about the pros and cons of MS polymer adhesives, you will want to decide whether they are a good fit for you. But it’s not easy. We know that.

Don’t worry though, there are ways you can make the decision easier. Here at Forgeway, we believe MS polymer adhesives are an excellent adhesive option. But they still may not be the right one for you.

If you want an adhesive that cures quickly and consistently, we advise you look at other adhesive options. Methyl methacrylate adhesives are probably the best route for you to explore.

However, if you want a strong and flexible adhesive we would say that MS polymer adhesives are the best adhesive option for you.

If you want to explore MS polymers further, you can download our sealant comparison chart if you are looking for a sealant. Or you can download our structural adhesive comparison chart if you are looking for an adhesive.

Whatever you choose to do next, we are always here to help if you need assistance.

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