Sealant Manufacturers produce highly specialized industrial products for use in applications like automotive, aerospace, rail and energy. Their specialty products can withstand extreme temperatures, high humidity and other challenging conditions that are common in industrial environments. They offer a wide range of materials including acrylate, silicone, polyurethane and bitumen to meet the demands of their customers. The global market for sealants is growing and companies are expanding their production capacity to meet demand.
Unlike adhesives, which are designed to bond surfaces together in a functional manner, the primary function of sealants is to fill voids and gaps that could otherwise allow air or liquid to leak through. In order to achieve this, sealants must have the proper physical properties to prevent leakage and corrosion, while offering a long service life. Many factors go into the selection of the proper sealant for a particular application, and manufacturers must carefully balance these factors when designing a product for commercial or industrial use.
The type of substrate, environmental conditions and loading of the sealant will also have a significant impact on its performance. A good example is the requirement for a polymer sealant to be flexible, which is important in locations requiring expansion joints or for caulking glazing. This type of sealant must be able to stretch and compress without cracking or breaking, as well as be able to withstand exposure to harsh UV sunlight, temperature variations and chemical environments.
In addition to these general considerations, the chemistry of the sealant will also influence its performance. Some examples are polyurethane sealants, which are a good choice for weather sealing and insulation applications, as well as silicones, which are commonly used in electronics, healthcare and food processing industries. Silicones are typically formulated for their non-toxic, anti-fungal and water-resistant qualities.
When choosing a sealant for an application, manufacturers can help by providing accelerated testing results that demonstrate how quickly the product cures and performs under specified loading and environmental conditions. This information is critical for customers to make a fast and informed decision about the best product to suit their requirements.
Other factors in the decision making process often involve the ease of handling and applying the sealant itself. Some products require the use of special tools or techniques for application, while others are available in a variety of sizes and forms to suit different applications. Some sealants may contain hazardous ingredients and therefore be subject to governmental safety regulations. The use of these products in conjunction with other chemical compounds such as solvents can sometimes cause health problems, and manufacturers must take these concerns into account when designing their products. Using a low VOC (volatile organic compound) product can help reduce these hazards and ensure compliance with governing laws. This is especially important in the manufacturing of construction sealants, where environmental regulations are stringent. An example of a company that produces environmentally friendly construction sealants is Novagard Solutions. Their products include high-performance silicone sealants, caulks and coatings.