Why can adhesives thicken in winter?

Published: 25 January 2021

In colder temperatures, there can be noticeable changes in the flow properties of adhesives. The product’s viscosity will increase making it more difficult to apply.

This is because temperature has an effect on the molecules of the adhesive, as it does with every other liquid.

Take water at 100°C, it’s a gas (steam). At 0°C, it’s a solid (ice). The only thing that has caused these changes in the physical state is temperature. This is the same with adhesives, the warmer they are the lower the viscosity, the more fluid they are. The lower the temperature, the higher the viscosity, the more viscous they are. The thicker adhesives will be more difficult to apply which impacts the application and expected coverage.

How to maintain the performance and ease of application of an adhesive during cooler months:

  • Store the adhesive in a cool, well-ventilated covered area, between 5-25°C.
  • Do not leave the adhesive outside exposed to the elements.
  • Try to get the adhesive to an ambient temperature before starting work if required.
  • Always check the adhesive before use.
  • Do not use the adhesive if the ambient temperature is below 5°C.

More information on using adhesives in colder weather can be found in our Winter Tips blog.

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