What is the difference between chlorinated and non-chlorinated adhesives? How do I know which to choose?
There is a common misconception that a non-chlorinated adhesive means it’s safer – this isn’t necessarily true. Although non-chlorinated adhesives aren’t carcinogenic, the gases are highly flammable so all equipment in the surrounding booth area would need to be ATEX approved and the appropriate care needs to be taken.
If you are currently deciding whether to use a chlorinated or non-chlorinated adhesive, we’ve put together the key differences to help you decide which is right for your next project:
The main distinguishing factor between chlorinated and non-chlorinated adhesives is the solvent used.
Most notably, the solvent in chlorinated adhesives is Dichloromethane (Methylene Chloride).
Advantages of Chlorinated adhesives
The main advantage of Dichloromethane is that it is non-flammable, and boils (airs off) at a very low temperature, approximately 4ºC. This gives the benefit of a fast setting adhesive, even in cold conditions and being non-flammable makes it safe to use. It can be used around flames and electrics without risk.
Disadvantages of Chlorinated adhesives
The key disadvantage is Dichloromethane is regarded as harmful. Chlorinated products have the potential to be carcinogenic as Dichloromethane has a warning statement “H351, Suspected of causing cancer.” It can also cause dizziness and headaches, and in high doses even death.
Workers can absorb the solvents through inhalation and skin contact. Inhalation is the most common form of workplace exposure because the solvents readily evaporate. To fully protect yourself against exposure, full attention needs to be given to the hazard statements and warnings found on the SDS (Safety Data Sheets). A great deal of care is required when handling chlorinated adhesives.
Non-chlorinated adhesives are formulated with different solvents and alcohols to mimic Dichloromethane properties, such as Acetone or Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK).
Non-chlorinated adhesives typically boil at a higher temperature (around 15ºC), resulting in slower bonding, which can be advantageous for some projects and a hindrance for others.
Advantages of Non-chlorinated adhesives
A clear benefit from non-chlorinated adhesives is that they use a non-toxic solvent, which presents no risks to human health.
Non-chlorinated adhesives are becoming an increasingly popular sustainable alternative to chlorinated adhesives. There is an increase in the number of companies who are specifying the use of non-chlorinated adhesives, due to their environmentally-friendly properties.
Non-chlorinated adhesives also have a longer open time, allowing for more precise application and repositioning of materials before the bond sets, and are ideal for permanent bonding where high heat and water resistance are required.
Disadvantages of Non-chlorinated adhesives
The biggest factor to take into consideration is the gases are highly flammable, so all equipment in the surrounding booth area would need to be ATEX approved. For non-chlorinated adhesives to be used safely, the appropriate care needs to be taken.
Non-chlorinated adhesives may not be suitable for all materials, some may require the strength and speed of bonding that only chlorinated adhesives can provide.
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