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It is not easy making the right choice in the jungle of adhesives and sealants.

Thanks to the range of brands on offer in DIY shops and trade outlets, a real ‘Great Wall’ of tube products has arisen, one in which even trained professionals can lose their way.

Time for some sign posts...

The man on the street and professional users speak of ‘silicone’ when they are talking about the familiar tube products. It’s not entirely correct. TEC7, for instance, is not silicone at all; instead it’s an MS polymer, which is a completely different base material, with different properties. 
The first question a user should ask themselves when choosing an adhesive or sealant is: what kind of product do I need? If you know the correct product type for a specific application, then the choice becomes a whole lot easier.

In this article, we are discussing the three most common kinds of adhesives and sealants:
·         Silicone
·         acrylic sealant or painter’s caulk
·         MS polymers

Silicone: sealants, not glues.

Silicone enjoyed rapid growth in the seventies and eighties. It is a family of products that has extremely high resistance against chemicals and weathering, and UV radiation. It stays flexible, which means it’s excellent for sealing.

The downside of silicone is that it is not such a good adhesive: uneven adhesion and its tensile force is low. In addition, in most cases silicone can’t be painted and it must always be used on a dry surface. Most silicones are not suitable for use on natural stone because the silicone oil stains over time.

A large part of the shop shelves are still taken up by silicone products. Often they are cheap, mass produced products and the quality is not great.

Painter’s caulk: if moisture or water is a problem
Those who are looking to paint something soon end up with acrylic sealants or painter’s caulk. It is easy to use, can be made smooth and painted quickly. Acrylic sealants keep their shape, but are not very elastic. This means that they are fine for use on walls and in constructions in which there is not much movement. Painter’s caulk is not waterproof and so it should not be used in the bathroom or kitchen.

Just like silicone, the market for this product is dominated by a wide range of cheap products. And the same principle applies here: ‘You get what you pay for’. The better acrylic sealants are more flexible, can be painted over quickly, keep their shape, and can withstand water and moisture more effectively …

Use a good acrylic sealant/painter’s caulk for:
·         Preparing for paintwork
·         Filling in and finishing joints in masonry and plastering
·         Sealing joints with little movement
·         Finishing on plasterboard

MS polymers: all-in-one solution

MS polymers like TEC7 and X-TACK7 are the youngest offspring in the sealant family. They combine the advantages of silicone, acrylates, PU adhesives and butyl rubbers. They are adhesives and sealants rolled into one.

The advantages of MS polymers are:
·         High adhesive properties on a wide range of materials
·         High tensile strength
·         Remain flexible and shockproof
·         Can be applied to moist surfaces
·         Good resistance to chemicals and UV resistant
·         Environmentally friendly, solvent-free
·         Can be painted 

MS polymers are slightly less UV resistant and colourfast than the better silicone kits. This means that silicone is first choice, for instance, as a glass sealant on a south-facing façade. But for almost all other applications, MS polymers are superior.

TEC7 was the first successful MS polymer on the market and, thanks to its protected formula, it remains first in class in terms of a quality, both as an adhesive and a sealant. For tough jobs, X-TACK7 is the preferred partner. With more than 600 kg/m², it is the mounting sealant with the highest initial adhesion.

Thanks to Novatech International for allowing us to reproduce this article.

Comparison Table: MS Polymer/Silicones/Acrylic
Circle of Sinner

In cleaning operations, the final result is influenced by four inter-dependent factors, grouped in the Circle of Sinner.

If one factor is decreased or increased, it must compensate for this loss/gain by increasing/decreaing one or more of the other factors.

Factor 1: Chemical Action

Represents the action of an acid or alkaline detergent solution. This action is increased or decreased by the concentration of pure product contained in the solution (water + product).

It is important to respect the dilution of product in cleaning operations. The 
"on - dosage" and "sub - metering" bring impact on the expected result.

2nd Factor: Action Mechanics

It is the action brought by the use of materials (single brush, scrubber) which generates rubbing and pressure.

A hardware fault, the agent is considered a mechanical action by action of rubbing it with a scraper or stricker. In the operations of cleaning, the mechanical action is to be modulated to avoid alterations of the support.

3rd factor: Action Temperature

The thermal action illustrated in cases of cleaning activities.

The water temperature in the dilution of product: Hot water promotes detergency of a product, and the different powers (wetting, sequestering).

This notion is reflected in the case of dishwashers and washing machines where the impact of temperature has a direct influence on the result.

The thermal action is provided by the friction of a disk on a support (spray method, dry etching). It promotes the action of thermo-reactive products such as products for the spray method and dry cleaners.

4th factor: Time for Action

During cleaning operations, the action time is combined with the chemical action.

It is the fact of leaving the product to act on the support, which increases its cleaning power.

Example: On a wet etching, the action of leaving the stripping solution can loosen, dissolve and soften the layers