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October 2, 2020 - General Transportation

Determine the Best Marine Adhesives and Sealants for Your Application

Different marine adhesives and sealants have their own characteristics that can make them a better choice for certain boat building applications over others. Therefore, it is imperative to consider how and where the adhesive will be used before selecting one for a marine application. Find out key marine adhesive and sealant qualities to look for and simple technology recommendations to help make selection easy.

Marine Adhesive and Sealant Qualities to Look For

In particular, key marine adhesive and sealant qualities to note are:

  • Substrate compatibility: Some adhesives and sealants are better suited for smooth substrates, while others perform best on irregular surfaces. Determine the marine adhesive or sealant solution that best fits your substrates to help ensure stronger bond.
  • Tension resistance: Frequent exposure to waves and harsh weather cause wear and tear on marine adhesives and sealants. Therefore, it’s important to choose a solution with strong tension resistance to ensure the bond will survive environmental conditions.
  • Chemical resistance: If the application will expose the adhesive or sealant to fuel, bleach, saltwater or other solvents, ensure that the technology will maintain strong performance with those chemicals.
  • Efficient cure time: Some marine applications require large quantities of adhesives or sealants to cover a surface area. Solutions with fast-curing properties can help keep production moving even with increased adhesive or sealant quantities.

The tips below provide marine adhesive and sealant recommendations for applications with specific requirements.

marine adhesives and sealants

Tips for Finding the Best Marine Adhesives and Sealants for Your Application

Certain adhesive and sealant technologies possess the needed qualities for specific marine applications. Discover which solutions will work for your purposes.

Frame to hull bonding: Connecting the structural components of the boat’s hull to the frame is the largest bonding application in most boats. Since a significant amount of adhesive will be needed for this application, manufacturers should look for a fast-curing solution to alleviate production inefficiencies.

Methyl methacrylates (MMAs) not only have a fast cure time, but they also allow manufacturers to skip the surface preparation steps required when using epoxies or other adhesives for hull bonding, further reducing production time. MMAs also resist wave impact and can be applied vertically with no sagging.

Window sealing: Marine window sealants must provide a water-tight seal that is also flexible enough to absorb some movement and impact shock. Plastic can be a difficult substrate to adhere to, so substrate compatibility is a key quality to consider.

Silicone sealants are compatible with difficult substrates, including plastic or glass. Plus, they offer a fast cure time to keep production lines moving, along with water repellant properties.

Deck hatch sealing: Deck hatches rely on a strong bond to prevent mold and other material degradation over time, so sealants must be resistant to chemicals and moisture, in addition UV exposure and extreme temperatures.

Silicone is resistant to a variety of irritants, including mold, mildew, UV rays and weathering, making it an ideal choice for deck hatch sealing. Silicone can also withstand extreme temperatures during and after production.

Below the waterline: For this application, marine adhesives and sealants must be resistant to weathering, UV rays and saltwater exposure. Below-the-waterline solutions should also be able to withstand tension created by waves.

Silyl modified polymer (SMP) solutions are specifically formulated to withstand harsh marine conditions. Some additional benefits of SMPs include fast curing and resistance to yellowing under UV rays.

Above the waterline: Above-the-waterline sealants bond various substrates in applications, like deck fittings, trims and thru-hull fittings, so it’s important to choose a solution that adheres to multiple substrates. For thru-hull fittings, it’s also important to ensure the sealant won’t tear the gelcoat when the fitting is removed from the hull during maintenance.

Silyl modified polymer (SMP) solutions are compatible with many substrates. They also provide high tack properties, which make them suitable for parts that may need to be moved after installation. Since SMP sealants don’t require a primer, manufacturers will experience operational efficiencies as well.

Want more insight about choosing the right adhesive or sealant for your marine application? Bostik can help. Contact a Bostik representative today to learn about our wide variety of marine bonding solutions, so you can ensure you get the job done right.

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