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Solutions for bonding low surface energy materials

Do more with plastics and other LSE materials – 3M has adhesives and tapes engineered for LSE bonding.

Design with LSE materials and explore more possibilities

  • Low Surface Energy (LSE) plastics present bonding challenges, so we created solutions specifically to bond LSE materials. From sporting equipment to appliances to rail cars and buses, these bonding solutions let you design lighter, stronger products with improved aesthetics and environmental resistance. Many of these solutions work without the need for primers, eliminating an extra production step as well as helping you get rid of mechanical fasteners.

  • Computer rendering of a mass transit seat showing the fold-down tray for the seat behind
    Rethink how you design

    Eliminate distracting visible mechanical fasteners to improve aesthetics as well as push the limit on shapes, material combinations and textures. Create breakthrough designs faster and with more durability.

  • Image of a bright, clean, well-lit manufacturing facility
    Rethink how you build

    Eliminate pre-drilling for mechanical fasteners like screws and rivets to increase the flexibility and efficiency of your manufacturing line. Replace sonic welding and skip primers, or create a different kind of bond that actually gets stronger over time.

  •  Image of two scientists in a chemistry lab setting
    Rely on our support

    We help customers with the testing, technology and training you need to create better products.

3M adhesives and tapes for LSE bonding

3M™ Double Coated Tapes with 3M™ Adhesive 300MP

Design for a textured world

3M™ Double Coated Tapes with 3M™ Adhesive 300MP

  • Image of an all-terrain vehicle in a sandy location

    High adhesion to a wide variety of materials including LSE plastics and foams, with a thin nonwoven carrier for dimensional stability and improved handling. Delivers versatile performance in harsh outdoor conditions.
     

    • Key advantages:

       
      • Excellent adhesion to open-cell foams
      • Consistent adhesion to many low surface energy plastics
      • Poly-coated liner for ease of handling
      • Designed for exposure to UV, humidity and more
    • Recommended applications:

       
      • Foam lamination
      • Gasket attachment
      • Insulator attachment
      • General attachment
      • Nameplate attachment

    Learn more about 3M thin bonding tape and the 300MP series

3M™ High-Strength Acrylic Adhesive 300LSE

Designs that go the distance

3M™ High-Strength Acrylic Adhesive 300LSE

  • Computer rendering of a robotic vacuum cleaner

    Reliably bonds hard-to-stick low surface energy materials, delivering a high initial bond strength. Ideal for both flat and curved surfaces. Provides the freedom to design with a wider range of substrates for more reliable performance with no mechanical fasteners.

    • Key advantages:
       

      • High initial bond strength to LSE substrates
      • High shear strength to LSE substrates
      • Good anti-lifting properties on flat and curved surfaces
      • Double-coated tape is easy to die-cut, handle and apply
    • Recommended applications:
       

      • Plastic to metal
      • Chrome to plastic
      • Metal speaker mesh to plastic
      • Plastic to powder-coated metal

    Learn more about 3M thin bonding tape and the 300LSE series

3M™ VHB™ Tape LSE Series

Designed for plastics

3M™ VHB™ Tape LSE Series

  • Image of a snowmobiler on a winter trail

    A range of double-sided acrylic foam tapes developed specifically for low surface energy substrates to create long-lasting, high-strength bonds without the use of a primer or promoter, reducing your overall production time. Choose the material that’s right for your design.

    • Key advantages:
       

      • Very high bond strength in a lightweight tape
      • Immediate handling strength for faster assembly
      • Bonds most LSE substrates without the need for primer
      • Resists hot, cold and cycling temperatures, UV light, moisture and solvents
    • Recommended applications:
       

      • Building components: signage, lighting, windows, décor
      • Transportation: trucking, buses, campers, RVs, light rail
      • Appliances: brand placards, internal components, small appliances, kitchen/cleaning tools
      • Outdoor power equipment: brand placards, instrument panels, decoration
      • Signs and displays: illuminated signs, restaurants, hotels, retail

    Learn more about 3M™ VHB™ Tape LSE Series

3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Structural Plastic Adhesives DP8010/DP8010NS

The structural adhesive with a longer work-life

3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Structural Plastic Adhesives DP8010/DP8010NS

  • Image of a passenger train passing through a city

    A two-part, acrylic-based adhesive that can bond many low surface energy plastics, including many grades of polypropylene, polyethylene and TPOs without special surface preparation. Replace screws, rivets, plastic welding and two-step processes such as chemical etchants, priming or surface treatments in many applications.

    • Key advantages:
       

      • Creates strong bond on LSE plastics such as polyolefin with minimal or no surface prep
      • Resists many chemicals, water, humidity and corrosion
      • Formulated to bond multi-material assemblies such as LSE plastics, thermoplastics, composites and metals
      • 10-minute work life with 60 minutes to handling strength
    • Recommended applications:
       

      • Transportation assemblies
      • Signage and POP displays
      • Appliances and other applications that join plastics to metals
      • Bonding low surface energy plastics without priming
      • Manufacture or repair of various sporting goods equipment

    Learn more about these products: 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Structural Plastic Adhesive DP8010 and 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Structural Plastic Adhesive DP8010NS

Image of a passenger train with doors open at a loading platform
Try it yourself

You don’t know until you try: request a sample so you can test it on your materials.

Request a sample

Which adhesive is right for you?

Our wide range of LSE adhesives makes it possible to find the best solution for your substrates, application and performance requirements.

  • Key factors in determining an adhesive:
     

    • What substrates are being bonded?
    • What type of joint design is used?
    • How much stress will be applied to the bond area?
    • What environmental conditions will the product endure?

    Surface Energy - a brief overview (PDF, 98.79 KB)

  • Need help finding the right adhesive for your application?

    Our bonding experts can work with you to determine the best adhesive for your substrates and other requirements, or you can make some selections in our bonding comparison tool to help you narrow down the list of adhesives to research.

    Try our bonding comparison selector

    Ask a 3M Expert

About low surface energy plastics

  • Chart outlining the different Surface Energy levels of various LSE plastics
  • Low surface energy plastics, or LSE plastics, are often known by their initials and include such materials as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE or HDPE), polystyrene, acetal, EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) and powder-coated paints. They are generally soft and have a low melting point so they’re easy to process and mold, even at high volumes, and they’re low-density, which helps with lightweighting. Because low surface energy is the primary characteristic these materials share, they’re all more difficult to bond than things like metals, wood or glass – 3M has adhesive and tape options designed to work well, but there are far fewer options to choose from and test.

     


    • Components of many coffee pots incorporate polypropylene to reduce the weight/cost

      Polypropylene

      Polypropylene is a low-density plastic manufactured in very large volume and widely used as film, fiber and molded parts. It is often used for packaging as containers, absorbent pads and wrapping film as well as to create lightweight components for the automotive, appliance and medical industries.

    • Refrigerator with white plastic materials inside made from Polystyrene

      Polystyrene

      Polystyrene is a clear, hard plastic; it can be brittle, but tougher versions known as high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) are available which have slightly different bonding properties. Some of the many applications that use polystyrene include foam peanuts, CD cases, clamshell containers, bottles, trays, cups and disposable cutlery. Polystyrene processes easily by molding, allowing for fine detail, as well as by vacuum forming to create foam panels.

    • Plastic syringe made from Polyethylene

      Polyethylene

      Polyethylene is the most common plastic, produced in the largest volume. It is often made into wrapping film for packaging and molded into bottles or other containers. Polyethylene has relatively low strength and low temperature resistance but is easy to process and used for applications where those factors are less important.

    • Sunglasses with frames made from Acetal (also Polyoxymethylene or POM)

      Acetal (also Polyoxymethylene or POM)

      Polyoxymethylene is an opaque white high-performance plastic with high strength, stiffness and rigidity plus good impact and temperature resistance and dimensional stability. It is often used in components like gear wheels, conveyor belts, eyeglass frames, fasteners and ski bindings.

    • Black Foam pads with adhesive applied to one side to ensure easy placement

      EVA

      Ethylene vinyl acetate is a rubber-like polymer with good toughness and crack resistance. It is often used as foam in footwear, particularly midsoles for tennis shoes and sandals, and for sports padding; it can also be a substitute for natural cork.

    • Yellow bulldozer with high performance paint moving dirt

      Paint and Powder-Coat Paint

      Traditional paints have a range of surface energies resulting in different bonding requirements. Powder-coat paints are a free-flowing dry powder which is applied and then heated to form a hard protective coating. Additives with low surface energy often flow to the surface when melted, which can make powder coats difficult to bond.


We're here to help.

Need help finding the right LSE adhesive or tape for your project? Contact us if you need product, technical or application advice or want to collaborate with a 3M technical specialist, or give us a call at 1-800-831-0658.

Need help finding the right LSE adhesive or tape for your project? Contact us if you need product, technical or application advice or want to collaborate with a 3M technical specialist, or give us a call at 1-800-831-0658.

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