Article

The drying and curing times of our adhesives

Because the terms drying and curing are regularly misused, it is important to define them first. After an adhesive has been applied it must dry, as well as cure. The time required for this depends on the substrate to be bonded, the type of adhesive and multiple environmental factors. The shortest possible drying and curing times are usually preferred. This is why there are ways of accelerating the drying and curing times of adhesives.

What is the difference between drying and curing?

We regularly see the terms ‘drying’ and ‘curing’ used interchangeably. And although we know what is meant, the two terms mean different things. Especially from a chemical point of view, one is certainly not the same as the other. 

Drying

In simple terms, drying is the loss of all liquid components from the applied adhesive layer. This not only means the evaporation of the carrier (the water or solvent added to make the adhesive liquid), but also the liquid absorbed by the foam. This physical process is also known as ‘bonding’. 

Curing

Curing is a chemical process in which the adhesive fully crystallizes. It then attains its final properties and builds up its final strength. The characteristics of the adhesive also change through this process, literally forming ‘a strong bond’. SABA’s adhesives acquire strength through coagulation (flocculation) or evaporation.
 

Why are drying and curing times important?

It may be important to know what the adhesive’s drying and curing times are to avoid major problems. When there is too much water in the mattress and the mattress is then packed this increases the chances of mold formation. This is caused by potential condensation on the inside of the packaging. Mold creates nasty odors and an unhygienic end-product. This is why sometimes it is useful for producers to be aware of the drying and curing times before the mattress is packed. Another option is to pack the mattress in a roll, whereby the film is tightly wound around the mattress. This method prevents mold formation and makes the drying and curing times insignificant.

Influencing drying and curing times

To calculate the ideal drying and curing times you must take all factors that influence these times into account.

Ambient temperature

An adhesive will dry when the water and other liquid components it contains evaporate. Higher temperatures will accelerate this process. A higher ambient temperature therefore will shorten the drying time. The drying time will be longer in a cold space. It is therefore important to take the heating and air conditioning systems in the production hall into account. A forced drying step added to the production process often makes use of heat, such as the SABA Produce & Pack concept.

Relative humidity

The relative humidity in an area plays a very large role in drying and curing adhesives. The higher the relative humidity the longer it takes to dry the adhesive because the water and other liquids do not have the opportunity to evaporate. In countries with very high humidity a longer drying time must therefore be provided for. 

Composition of the adhesive

An adhesive with a high concentration of solids contains less water and therefore bonds faster than an adhesive with a low concentration of solids. Adhesives with a high concentration of solids also perform differently in comparison to adhesives with a low concentration of solids. The former have a higher initial tack and bond faster than adhesives with a low concentration of solids.

The substrate

When the substrate to be bonded is open celled, the carrier has a greater chance of evaporating in comparison to a more closed substrate consisting of hard material. When SABA adhesives are applied to hard materials they will need a longer drying time.

Thickness of the adhesive layer

The thicker the adhesive layer is applied, the more water and liquids will need to evaporate. This therefore extends drying and curing times. SABA is happy to help you optimize your process. We offer support to operators to prevent excessive application and to subsequently also optimize the drying and curing times. Together we ensure that sufficient adhesive is applied to achieve a quality product, without using too much adhesive and prolonging the drying process. You can contact us without obligation for more information and custom advice.

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Accelerating drying and curing times

Short drying and curing times are often preferred over longer times to prevent warehouses from filling up with drying mattresses. Short drying and curing times are also essential when mattresses are to be packed and shipped immediately. Various techniques have been developed to accelerate these times. Forced drying is a technology that is commonly used in the mattress world. SABA Produce & Pack is an example of this. Thanks to our unique water-based rollable adhesive and integration of a forced drying step in the production process, no drying time is necessary. As a result mattresses are quickly ready for delivery! This technology is far less often used for spray applications and natural drying, also referred to as air drying, more often is the rule here.

Average drying and curing times of our adhesives

Due to the above-referenced factors that influence the drying and curing times of our adhesives, it is impossible to establish average drying and curing times. However, we have developed a tool that helps us take as many influencing factors as possible into account for calculating average drying and curing times for you. Contact us without obligation so we can start using our tools to calculate the drying and curing times of your process.

Contact us for more information

Please contact SABA for more information:
+1 810 824 4964 or foam@saba-adhesives.com.

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