How Cold Affects Rubber-Based PSA Performance

How Cold Affects Rubber-Based PSA Performance

If you’re like most, you’re wondering where the year has gone. Thanksgiving has passed and we are in the midst of the holiday season. As we enter the colder months, it’s a good idea to consider how the low temperatures may impact your adhesive performance, especially rubber-based pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs).

Rubber-based PSAs tend to be extremely tacky and flexible, but this can quickly change when cold temperatures hit. You may find that your adhesive has become more rigid as its molecules slow down and begin to draw in closer together. This causes the adhesive to lose its tack, making it difficult to grab onto the substrate.

Want to see for yourself how applying a PSA in cold temperatures can impact the adhesive’s performance? In the video below, we applied a 3×3 PSA patch onto boardstock at room temperature. We then applied the same 3×3 patch onto boardstock at refrigerator temperature.

Note:  Although a pressure sensitive adhesive may fail when applied during cold conditions, this does not mean that it cannot withstand low temperatures.  If PSAs are applied in favorable conditions and experience low temperatures after the application has taken place, the adhesive performance should not be affected. It is when application occurs during low temperatures that you may see this type of performance failure.

Watch the video below to see how the PSA performs during application at room temperature versus a lower temperature:

How to Store and Apply a Rubber-Based PSA in Low Temperatures

Adhesion can be especially difficult when both the adhesive and the material you wish to bond are stored in lower temperatures, such as a cold warehouse. If your plant operates in a particularly cold climate, you may find it helpful to store your product and substrates adjacent to heated offices or use a heated fan to increase the ambient temperature during application.

Looking for more information on combating colder temperatures or have questions related to PSAs? Contact our technical service team at 1-800-844-1740 or use the contact form below. We’re available 24/7 to discuss your specific application in more detail.

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