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What Are Sealants?

Sealants are a high viscosity product used for sealing surfaces where there are joints, cracks or gaps. The most commonly-used types of sealants are MS polymer-based, urethane-based, phenolic-based, epoxy-based, acrylic-based and silicone-based. They are very versatile, with a wide range of properties for almost every application, and can seal many substrates across many industries. Sealants are used across the transportation, trailer, electronics, aerospace, marine, signage, composites, general industry, and many other industries. Among other substrates, they can seal concrete, metal, plastics, ceramics, drywall, textiles, glass and porous materials.

Sealants are not used instead of adhesives, but are used to block any passage of liquids, dust heat or sound through surfaces with openings, joints, gaps or cracks. Sealants are good for maintaining waterproofing and keeping moisture in or out of the components they’re used in, and can seal top structures onto substrates, provide simple filling or smoothing, supply acoustical and thermal insulation, and even act as an insoluble fire barrier. They improve the structural integrity of finished parts, and remain flexible over time, even when exposed to moisture and temperature changes. Some types of sealants are resistant to extreme weather, high and low temperatures, and UV rays, making them ideal for glass insulation and glazing. There is basically a sealant for every application, and there are really no drawbacks to using them – if you need to seal something, then you need a sealant!

Once sealants have been applied, they will need time to cure. Curing is the process in which the sealant settles down and to its final shape and strength. Curing times vary depending on the type of sealant, some may take a few minutes or hours whereas others may need a few weeks. Curing processes vary by type of sealant too, with some using air and moisture to cure, some using heat, some using UV/radiation, and some using anaerobic curing (curing in the absence of oxygen).

Which type of sealant should you be using? Contact us, and let us know your application, substrates and the adhesives you’re using, and we would be happy to provide our recommendations!