What Chemicals Are Used with Adhesives?

Adhesives are non-metallic substances that can be applied to two separate surfaces or substrates to bind them together. To offer increased resistance, different chemicals are used in adhesives, making them more durable and stronger. Some of these chemicals include primers, cleaners, etchants, initiators, activators, accelerators, and surface conditioners. To better understand how these chemicals enhance adhesives, this blog will provide an overview of each.

Chemicals used in adhesives are selected based on the results you are aiming to achieve. In some cases, substrates must be primed before receiving a coat of a particular adhesive, while in other instances, the adhesive cure must be triggered with an activator. The next section will outline all the chemicals and their processes.


Primers are defined as surface coatings that change the characteristics of a surface, allowing an adhesive or coating to adhere more effectively. Utilizing primers can increase an adhesive’s ability to wet out the surface. For instance, plastics necessitate a primer that is devised to suit certain types of plastics. Polyolefin primers are just one example of primers that are crafted to increase adhesion to the surface of polyolefin. On the other hand, if they are used on non-polyolefin surfaces, they can actually decrease adhesion. Some adhesives may also have a specific primer formulated for use.


Accelerators are typically used to speed up cure times. However, they decrease bond strength. For example, when bonding a permeable, porous material with cyanoacrylate, an accelerator can be applied to the substrate, increasing adhesion by curing the substrate before the adhesive is fully absorbed by the material.

Anaerobic Surface Conditioners

Anaerobic adhesives can only cure in the presence of metal ions. Since some metals are more reactive than others, a surface conditioner formulated for anaerobic adhesives can increase the cure speed and enable a cure on non-metal surfaces. Like accelerators, anaerobic surface conditioners can also reduce bond strength.

Initiators or Activators

Serving as catalysts, initiators or activators are utilized with two component adhesives and can activate the curing process. As they are usually designed to suit a specific adhesive, one must be careful when selecting an initiator or activator for their intended applications.


Typically designed to clean up spilled adhesives, standard industrial cleaners and solvents do the job with ease. Cleaning components are especially useful when the surface contaminants are known. For instance, heavily plasticized PVCs will possess higher surface tension once they have been wiped down with isopropyl alcohol.


Etchants are acid-based solutions that are formulated to prepare challenging surfaces for bonding. As the surface energy of many metal compounds and some plastics cannot be increased with a cleaner or primer, etchants are the perfect solution.


Industrial Part Sphere is the leading distributor of industrial parts, adhesives, additives, and more, all of which are subjected to varying levels of quality assurance measures, tests, verifications, and assessments. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items in our inventory, you can fulfill all of your operational needs with ease. Kickoff the procurement process by requesting a quote on any item you see in our listings and see why customers choose Industrial Part Sphere time and time again. 


December 15, 2022

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships

Thank You for Visiting.

We hope that you will visit us again the next time you need industrial parts and make us your strategic purchasing partner.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.