What is an Adhesive? TECHNICAL ARTICLES | GENERAL ADHESIVES Technical advice articles from the glue experts!


The Definition

Well, let’s start with the definition of the term adhesive. As a noun, adhesive refers to: “a substance used for sticking objects or materials together; glue”. As an adjective, it pertains to be: “sticky, enabling surfaces or substances to adhere to one another”.


| “Adhesives are all around us in everyday life.


Glue or Adhesive?

“Glue” is a word you often hear when people talk about adhesives, particularly when referring to common household, DIY, or craft bonding agents.

On the other hand, the word “adhesive” may find more application in technical or formal situations, such as within industrial settings or discussions concerning the chemical attributes and classifications of bonding materials.

Although there are subtle differences between the two terms, most people use “glue” and “adhesive” interchangeably.

Types of Adhesives

Adhesives are all around us in everyday life, but because they do what they’re supposed to do (sticking objects or materials together) you don’t see them most of the time. So, you either don’t know about them, or if you do, you probably just take them for granted.

Blu Tack® application

Blu Tack® a type of pressure-sensitive adhesive

There will be some adhesive products that you will have heard about and used, particularly as a consumer – Sellotape®, Blu Tack®, ‘White Glue’ (PVA for wood and crafts), etc. If you’re a crafty person, then maybe you’ve used a hotmelt glue gun and sticks? Maybe you’ve used a solvent-based contact adhesive, or an epoxy stick, or even a two-part epoxy to repair something? If you dabble in DIY, then you’ll have probably used a silicone sealant in your kitchen or bathroom; an acrylic caulk around your window frames or a grab adhesive to fix a skirting board. IF you’re a professional tradesperson, you might have used tiling adhesives to fix wall and floor tiles; or used various adhesives to lay wooden or vinyl flooring; or a solvent cement to seal PVC plumbing pipes.



| “As well as product assembly, adhesives make it possible to Repair and Reuse items.


What is the Difference?

Sellotape® application.

Sellotape® another common type of pressure-sensitive adhesive.

All of these are different, because they’re designed to do different things, i.e., stick different things together for different purposes (or themselves to something). And because they’re different, they work differently too.

Some are removeable, some are reusable, and some are permanent. So, their method of adhesion (or curing mechanism), their working times and adhesive bond strengths are different. Sellotape® and Blu Tack® are pressure-sensitive, i.e., they need to be pressed into position and their bond strengths are designed to be low and removeable.

Solvent-based, grab adhesives and PVA’s are essentially sticky resins dissolved in a carrier solvent (or water). Hot melts are just sticky resins that become tacky when heated.

Sealant products polymerise slowly with exposure to moisture in the air to provide a flexible adhesive seal. Epoxies rely on mixing two chemicals together, which react and polymerise to form a hard resin.

Bison adhesive range shot.

Bison has a range of adhesives suited for DIY, hobby and repair applications.


The Future of Adhesives

As well as product assembly, adhesives make it possible to Repair and Reuse items – two of the R’s that are becoming increasingly important as we transition towards a Circular Economy.


| “faster bonds, stronger bonds, and higher performance than superglues.


A Fast, Strong and Reliable Bonding Solution

But there’s one adhesive type that can be used to give fast, strong, and reliable bonding of many different surfaces, and they’re easy to use – cyanoacrylates (or superglues in consumer markets).

Cyanoacrylate application

Cyanoacrylate adhesives are fast, strong and reliable.

Cyanoacrylate adhesives are the industrial version of superglues – they give faster bonds, stronger bonds, and higher performance than superglues. Their cure mechanism is via anionic polymerisation, often using ambient moisture.

Procure cyanoacrylate product shot.

Procure is a range of professional cyanoacrylate products.


Quality Adhesives

Mitrelock activator and glue against the backdrop of a kitchen.

Mitrelock a wood bonding kit used for fast bonding of mitred joints.

Cyanotec Ltd is a reputable supplier of quality adhesive products. We are proud to offer the Procure® range, which comprises of proven high-quality cyanoacrylate adhesives.

We also provide the cutting-edge Mitrelock® wood bonding kit, designed to ensure strong and durable bonds on most natural materials. Our extensive range of offerings extends beyond that, including the Lockfast engineering adhesives range, Procure®UV, Scott Bader’s Crestabond, and the Bison adhesive range.

Lockfast engineering adhesives range shot

Lockfast have a range of adhesives for engineering applications.

Rest assured, at Cyanotec, we strive to deliver superior adhesive solutions to meet your specific needs.


Procure, Lockfast, ProcureUV, Mitrelock, Scott Bader and Bison Logos.


Faster Bonding, Stronger Bonds, Higher Performance – Creating Bonds Together.

(Look out for the next technical article in our general adhesives series).

Posted on August 14, 2023 | by The Glue Expert |
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