Adhesives Analysis and Formulation Testing
Adhesive analysis and testing expertise to support new product development, ongoing quality assurance and troubleshooting performance failure or non-compliance with specifications
Adhesive analysis and testing is critical to evaluating new adhesive formulations. These test programs can be applied as quality control checks, to track production issues, and also to troubleshoot instances when the adhesive product fails to meet specifications or when differences in performance are observed.
Advanced adhesives are now available for a wide range of applications across diverse industries such as building products, aerospace, automotive and packaging. For each new requirement, substrate (e.g. foils, paper, textiles, metals, foam, plastic, rubber or glass etc) or application, a customised adhesive product is likely required to meet the specific physical demands of the bonded joint and the stability requirements of the product in use. Adhesives can be difficult to evaluate due to their variety, chemistries, and curing processes, and accordingly, a multi-disciplinary approach can be required, encompassing aspects such as study of adhesive interfaces, assessment of mixing plus the categorisation and visualisation of failure mode.
Our adhesives formulation testing experts analyse adhesives across a wide range of applications ranging from packaging, transport to the electronics industries and have experience across a wide range of curing processes (heat activated curing adhesives, UV activated curing adhesives, anaerobic adhesives, moisture activated and pressure-sensitive adhesives) and chemistries (epoxies, urethanes, polyimides, acrylics, cyanoacrylates, silicones). We deliver both chemical testing and physical performance testing as tailored programs to meet your specific needs.
New Adhesive Formulation Development Support
We support the development of new adhesive formulation through performance testing (including adhesion, peel, lap shear strength, and shear modulus, tensile, flexural, impact and cleavage strength, durability, fatigue, environmental resistance, conductivity, mechanical properties which include creep, fracture, and fatigue), physical attributes (softening point, rheology, solids content, filler content, specific gravity, and colour) and chemical analysis to drive in-depth understanding of the complex formulation components and how their interact, their physical properties, long-term stability, the relevant bonding, and ageing processes and an understanding of the processes which occur between the interface of the adhesive and the substrate. We use techniques such as Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) or Thermographic Analysis (TGA) to study changes in physical properties that can occur during the cure process and perform accelerated ageing tests and determine the rate of cure as part of the overall assessment to establish durability.
Adhesive Quality Assurance Programmes
We tailor quality assurance programmes for your adhesive chemistries or curing processes to evaluate the critical attributes and fundamental properties of ongoing production batches to ensure they still meet specifications and to support sourcing by monitoring the quality of incoming materials. Our QA Programmes typically include the collection of data to enable product and process performance, driving insight through the use of Statistical Process Control tools.
Troubleshooting Performance or Quality Issues
To solve adhesive quality issues we apply a wide range of spectroscopy (FTIR, RAMAN, RAMAN microscopy), microscopy (optical, scanning electron microscopy), chromatography (GC-MS, HS-GC), and mass spectrometry alongside key performance tests such as lap-shear or peel. These techniques are applied strategically to address issues such as integrity, mixing and consistency and to ensure more control over a wide variety of potential future issues. Mass spectrometry (either MALDI-TOF or LC-MS) may be employed to yield information about the build-up of oligomers during cure. This can include bulk oligomers and the formation of low levels of adducts during mixing. We may also use techniques such as Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) or Thermographic Analysis (TGA) to study changes in physical properties that can occur during the cure process.
Our knowledge and insight into adhesives analysis, research and problem-solving has resulted in considerable benefits for industry. Examples include:
- Electronics industry conductive adhesive
We identified poor mixing as the cause of inconsistent conductivity and weak interface with copper substrate
- Wood glue
The lab showed how adhesion at the interface can be improved by understanding how the adhesive penetrates into the cellular structure
- Microwavable food trays
Our packaging team advised on the development of easy-peel tray lids by studying the interaction between film lid and container and determined the root-cause of inconsistent peel in microwave food container films.
- Cardboard packaging
Intertek helped the customer reduce the temperature of processing, resulting in significant energy savings
- Our team conducted benchmarking for new adhesive formulations through performance testing across a range of metal/coating substrates
Quality Assurance programmes delivered to enable product and performance improvements in quality
Peel testing to measure adhesive toughness as a function of position throughout a delamination process
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