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water based adhesive vs solvent based adhesive

water based adhesive vs solvent based adhesive Adhesives hold our world together—literally. Industrial products of all varieties from the envelopes used to mail your holiday greeting cards, to the furniture in your living room, and the parts that intricately connect and hold together the automobile in your driveway. These items all require bonds of varying strength to perform their function. Assembly lines all over the world rely on adhesives to get the job done.

Gone are the days of tape, nails and metal fasteners, providing a temporary hold; glue is what’s new, but which one is for you? When deciding which adhesives work best for your production needs, it is important to consider the benefits of both water and solvent-based adhesives.

As its name indicates, water-based adhesives use water as their carrier fluid. The water suspends the adhesive particles, which reduces the viscosity of the adhesive, allowing for applications to be applied at varying levels of thickness.

The performance of solvent-based adhesives is determined by the specific polymer formulation of the adhesive. To be effective, the joined materials fuse together as the polymer solvent quickly evaporates, making this an effective glue for fast-paced industries.

When to use Water-Based Adhesives

If you are working with paper, a water-based adhesive will likely do the trick. Water-based adhesive is most often used for paper-to-paper applications, including labels, envelopes, and packaging, but is also a helpful tool when working with wood projects, fabric bonding, laminate bonding and construction projects.

These types of adhesives work best on these projects because all of these types of projects are high-tension surfaces, which are ideal for water-based adhesives. Water-based adhesives are also more environmentally sound, which is often a benefit when working with paper, fabric, wood, and construction projects.

When to use Solvent-Based Adhesives

Many solvent-based adhesives are flammable and, as a result, are effective in joining rubber and plastics together because the high heat content is necessary to create flexibility and cohesion with rubber and plastics. Acrylics are a popular type of adhesive in this category and are used frequently in the automotive industry for paints and coatings. Other applications that may require solvent-based adhesives are woodworking, furniture manufacturing, and PVC piping and sheeting.

There are several advantages to working with solvent-based adhesives in fast-paced industries because they have a short fixing time, substantially decreasing the amount of time waiting for an application to set. Luckily, some solvent-based adhesives are not flammable, so you can still find an effective, fast setting adhesive even if you are working in a flammable environment such as a kitchen or garage.


Many industries rely on both water-based and solvent-based adhesives to get the job done. The construction industry is one example. Any applications involving PVC pipes, a plastic material, will require solvent-based adhesives. Laying tile, however, is a job for water-based adhesives. One mistake in adhesive selection could result in major setbacks during building.

If you want your project to stick, it is important to find the perfect adhesive.

At American Chemical, Inc. we have over 25 years of experience connecting customers with the best adhesives for their projects. If you have any questions about your industrial application, please contact American Chemical or give us a call at 800-245-8348.

We look forward to finding the glue that works best for you.