Adhesive (Thermoplastic) - What is a thermoplastic adhesive?
A type of adhesive that is not irreversibly changed by the curing process. Thermoplastic polymers become pliable above a certain temperature, which allows them to be moulded into the required form before they are hardened into a solid via a curing process (they are usually cured using heat, with or without pressure). While thermosetting polymers undergo a chemical reaction during curing, thermoplastic polymers do not, which means that they can be recycled by re-melting and re-shaping the material. They tend to have a high molecular weight, which means that the polymer chains (which are associated through intermolecular forces) weaken extremely quickly at higher temperatures, allowing the polymer to become pliable enough to be moulded into the required shape (via injection moulding, compression moulding, calendaring, extrusion etc). Compared to thermosetting adhesives, thermoplastic adhesives tend to have a superior finish (and offer a wider range of surface finishes), offer better impact resistance, can be recycled (or simply remoulded if required), and use eco-friendly manufacturing processes, although they are more expensive and will melt if they are exposed to higher temperatures.Go Back to Glossary