What are the Different Types of Plastic Adhesive?

Sonal Panse

Different types of plastic adhesives like epoxy, resins, acrylics, silicones and hot-melt adhesive are regularly used for bonding plastics, metals, glass and a host of other purposes. They are used to address creative, assembly, maintenance and repair concerns in craft, construction, manufacturing and engineering applications. Such plastic adhesive use is notable for having high bonding strength, good insulation properties, and excellent resistance to impact, heat and chemicals. The plastic adhesive products can be purchased in ready to use packs, containers, glue gun cartridges and syringes.

Cyanoacrylate, also called super glue, is a common plastic adhesive.
Cyanoacrylate, also called super glue, is a common plastic adhesive.

As a plastic adhesive can be pretty strong, it is important to read and understand the instructions on their labels prior to use. Some types of plastic adhesive are available in solid, semi-solid, viscous or liquid forms. Some adhesives are water-based, while others require careful handling as they are to be mixed with organic solvents.

Epoxy consists of two separate tubes which are mixed together to make an adhesive.
Epoxy consists of two separate tubes which are mixed together to make an adhesive.

Epoxy adhesives, perhaps the strongest of all adhesives, is used to build planes, vehicles and sports equipment. It is a waterproof, solvent-less adhesive that, in addition to its strength, has the additional benefit of being very durable and resistant to heat and chemicals. It can be cured by heat treatment and does not shrink much in the process. Epoxy comes in two parts, a resin and a hardener, and these must be mixed before use.

Hot-melt adhesive is a solid adhesive made from thermoplastic resins. It comes in a solid or semi-solid form and does not need to be mixed with an organic solvent. It is first melted by heating, then applied in a coat where required, and then it adheres to that surface as it cools and hardens. Hot-melt adhesive is used in putting together electrical parts, automotive parts and packing cartons.

Cyanoacrylate, better known as super glue, is a water-resistant plastic adhesive that is known to bond well with metals amongst other things; it does not, however, work well with smooth glass. Super glue can be used to glue a range of items like electronics, model crafts, corals and ballerina's shoes. It has been found effective in repairing skin and bone and closing wounds in both humans and animals.

While plastic adhesive products can be highly useful, they may have some health-related drawbacks. They may give off strong fumes that lead to eye and skin irritations. Carrying out plastic adhesive application is a well-ventilated area and wearing protective skin covering can certainly prove to be helpful.

PVC pipe cement is a special type of epoxy that bonds the plastic pieces together.
PVC pipe cement is a special type of epoxy that bonds the plastic pieces together.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I used hot-melt plastic adhesive in several art projects in college. Art was my major, and some classes, particularly my three-dimensional art class, involved constructing items using a hot glue gun.

I would insert the solid piece of plastic into the gun before plugging it in to heat it up. As the heat rose, the plastic liquefied and turned to adhesive.

I liked the precision and convenience of using the gun, because I could squirt the glue wherever I needed it without ever having to touch it. Since the glue was hot, I really didn't want to get it on my fingers.


@StarJo – I have also had several sticky accidents involving super glue. I decorate and sell photo frames, so I have to use the glue all the time. I came up with a way to keep the stuff off of my fingers.

I put on disposable gloves before handling a tube of super glue. I make sure that I have them on before I even do so much as carry the tube from the shelf to the table.

You can buy a box of fifty pairs of disposable gloves for pretty cheap at a dollar store. This lasts me a long time and keeps my skin out of trouble.


Super glue is so strong that I am afraid to use it. I seem to always make a mess, and that usually involves me gluing my skin to some object.

Having to rip your skin off of something is pretty painful. It is also horrible when you accidentally glue your thumb to your finger.

I like to build things in my spare time that need to be sealed with super glue, but I have just about given up on my ability to successfully use this adhesive. Does anyone have any advice for how I can avoid attaching my skin to places it doesn't belong?


My dad uses an epoxy adhesive whenever he builds model airplanes. I have watched him work on them in his shop before, and I have seen him apply the epoxy to several wooden parts.

The smell is really strong. I would compare its intensity to that of nail polish remover, but it has an almost woody scent to it.

He often put the two pieces that were bonded by epoxy in a vise until the adhesive hardened completely. It held up really well to regular wear and handling, but the plane did endure a few crashes that sent it back to the shop for repairs, which inevitably involved more epoxy adhesive.

Post your comments
Forgot password?