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Worker applies 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Epoxy Adhesive DP420 before inserting another part in the cylinder joint

Using 3M Structural Adhesives

Learn more about how choosing the right 3M Structural Adhesive and preparing the surface can help you achieve strong, reliable bonds.


How Do I Get the Best Bonds With 3M Structural Adhesives?

How do you decide what type of structural adhesive to use – is the substrate or the adhesive chemistry more important, or both? What can you do to your substrates to help the adhesive bond better? This page can help answer some of these questions.

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Getting Started with Structural Adhesives

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Structural Adhesives Resources by Substrate

One or more of your substrates may be the deciding factor in which adhesive to use. Many structural adhesives can bond bare metals or glass, but Low Surface Energy (LSE) Plastics or coatings used for shipping can present specific challenges. Understanding the specific challenges of different substrates can help you narrow the number of options for testing.


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  • Video still showing a golf ball after being struck by the head of a golf club

    Toughened High-Performance Structural Adhesives (2:15)

    This video examines the impact stresses undergone by a golf club head and how toughened 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Epoxy Adhesive DP420 is formulated to handle those stresses, even through repeated use.

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Structural Adhesives Resources by Adhesive Chemistry

The final usage of your product may dictate the type of chemistry where you should start looking for your structural adhesive. Does it need to withstand chemical environments, temperature extremes, or repeated temperature cycling? What about weather, including UV exposure? Will it be subject to impact stresses, and do you want the adhesive to transmit or absorb energy? Understanding the differences between adhesive chemistries can help you narrow the number of options for testing.

Acrylic Adhesives

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Epoxy Adhesives

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  • Video still closeup of a crane hook bonded with 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Epoxy Adhesive DP420NS

    Tensile Strength Test (3:28)

    This video shows how 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Epoxy Adhesive DP420NS held over 7 tons in a cold overnight test.

  • Video still of 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Tough Stuff undergoing an impact test

    Impact Test: 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Tough Stuff vs. Spot Welding (0:32)

    This video demonstrates how well 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Tough Stuff survives an impact test.

PUR Adhesives

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    Introducing PUR Adhesives (2:05)

    This video introduces Polyurethane Reactive Adhesives and discusses their benefits, including fast time to handling strength, high ultimate strength, precision dispensing, a variety of open times and more.

  • Video still of the engineer with the caption “Caution: Ensure one of your substrates is water permeable (no metal-to-metal)

    Dos and Don’ts of PUR Adhesive Dispensing (1:44)

    A 3M Senior Application Engineer provides tips for dispensing 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ PUR Adhesives along with when and why they’re a good solution.

  • Video still showing application to wood

    3M™ Scotch-Weld™ PUR Adhesive Demonstration (3:39)

    A 3M Senior Application Engineer demonstrates bonding with 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ PUR Adhesives in wood-to-wood, glass-to-plastic, plastic-to-metal and wood-to-metal applications.

Urethane Adhesives

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  • Video still showing someone bonding a composite material

    Multi-Material Composite Adhesives (1:49)

    This video discusses the challenges of attaching composite materials and how 3M multi-material composite adhesives deliver strong bonds that eliminate stress concentrations and can withstand different coefficients of thermal expansion.

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Achieving Good Bonds with Structural Adhesives

Choosing a structural adhesive is a good start, but forming tough structural bonds also requires getting the details right when you apply it.

  • Surface Preparation and Pretreatment (PDF, 305 KB)

    This 3M Technical Bulletin provides an extensive overview of surface preparation and pretreatment options for a wide variety of substrates including glass, ceramics and concrete as well as several different metals and plastics.

  • Instructions for Dispensing and Troubleshooting (PDF, 137.20 KB)

    This 3M Technical Bulletin discusses highly off-ratio dispensing using 3M™ EPX™ Applicators and steps to ensure a proper mix ratio.

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Customer Testimonials

  • Still shot from a video describing how a 3M structural adhesive gave Innovent the confidence to not use mechanical fasteners

    Provide Rigidity and Thermal Break (1:29)

    Structural adhesives can provide a rigid structure and a true thermal break. Innovent, a maker of custom air-handling units, uses 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Low Odor Acrylic Adhesive DP8825NS rather than the industry standard of mechanical fasteners and welding.

  • Still shot from a video showing ways a 3M structural adhesive helped PDG Mobility: lightweighting, scaled production and more

    Reduce Weight and So Much More (2:44)

    How many ways can a 3M adhesive help you? Wheelchair manufacturer PDG Mobility found that 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Epoxy Adhesive DP420 helped them improve their design and durability, reduce weight, scale up production and more.

  • Worker at a bench forming a prosthetic limb

    Reduce Mechanical Fasteners (3:34)

    LIM Innovations’ customers want their prosthetic limbs to be durable and stand up to the rigors of everyday life. LIM worked with 3M engineers to find ways for structural adhesives to replace some mechanical fasteners while retaining adjustability.

  • Video still showing 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Structural Adhesive DP490 being applied to a motorbike component

    Replace Welding with New Materials (2:09)

    The CEO of Italy’s VINS Motors talks about his company’s use of 3M Structural Adhesives to create motorbikes with no welding, only co-laminated components and adhesive-bonded joints using 3M™ Scotch-Weld™ Structural Adhesive DP490.

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Other Information About Structural Adhesives

  • Go to FAQs

    Our Application Engineers get similar questions from different customers - watch or read some of the more common responses.

  • Meet the Experts

    Meet some of our Structural Adhesives Application Engineers.

  • Find Tech Data By Product

    Find Technical Data Sheets for your chosen 3M structural adhesive.

  • Structural Adhesives Home

    Learn more about Structural Adhesive chemistries and benefits, watch customer testimonial videos and more.


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Need help finding the right product 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 product 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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