How many industry sectors rely on adhesives?

Laurie Gibbons
Adhesive Selection and Use, Tips
April 24, 2009

The short answer is “Almost all of them.” You probably could have guessed that on your own, but what’s more interesting is how each industry uses adhesives. The following lists some of the less visible applications in use all around us.

Ground transportation

In the rail and vehicle industries, adhesives bond multiple parts of the electric motors that power mirrors, windows, brake systems, and the like. Other uses include; gasketing internal combustion engines, sealing hydraulic lines, coating electrical connections, and attaching accessories and trims – just to name a few areas.


From Boeing to NASA, in the Piper Cub as well as in the space shuttle, the applications for adhesives are much like the ground transportation industry.  Adhesives offer the advantage of lowering the weight of finished components by replacing mechanical fasteners or when used as an alternative to welding.


Adhesives bring precision assembly possibilities to the manufacture of medical devices. It’s not at all uncommon for a surgical tool to be assembled without a single screw or bolt. Because they form strong, trustworthy bonds and seals, adhesives bond disposable devices that contact blood or other body fluids routinely.


Take a close look at your cell phone, and you will likely discover no screws to be seen anywhere. This is the first evidence of the use of adhesives in electronics manufacturing. Inside electronic devices of all types, adhesives are coatings for wiring and offer low-temperature alternatives to traditional soldering. We’re sure most people do not know that a CD or DVD is made up by layering plastics with other materials and securing them with adhesives.


Adhesives prevent leaks in the piping systems that deliver gas, oil, and water to homes and factories. Advances in chemistry offer highly effective replacements to traditional sealing methods using tapes, caulks, wax or clay. There are special formulations for the repair of some gas lines and flexible, water-repellent varieties for sealing electrical connections.


Military defense systems worldwide rely on the strength and versatility of adhesives to safely and securely bond, coat and seal materials.  Guns, goggles, radio equipment, gas masks, helmets, even the bullets benefit from the features of structural adhesive chemistry.  Whether replacing welding with stronger and lighter adhesive bonding or permitting the joining of dissimilar materials for precision equipment, many industrial adhesives have military approvals. So, contact the manufacturer for their list of Mil-spec products.

Your Industry?

We have shown that most industries out there use adhesives in some form. The increase in their use is the direct result of a global drive towards efficiency and quality and cost reduction. Adhesives can lower the weight of finished goods and in turn, affects the shipping rates for transporting the goods. Their use can improve production, reduce waste, and often can contribute to workplace safety through the use of solvent-free formulations.

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