How to create a good smooth finish with an MS Polymer
What is an MS Polymer? MS Polymer also known as a hybrid polymer, is an adhesive sealant, that combines the best properties of polyurethanes and silicones. It is a one-component adhesive and sealant with a unique chemical structure that makes it highly elastic, strong, and resistant to weathering, chemicals, and UV radiation.
MS Polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including construction, automotive, marine, and aerospace industries. They are commonly used as adhesives, sealants, and coatings due to their excellent bonding properties and ability to form a durable, flexible, and waterproof seal. They can also be used as a structural adhesive to bond various substrates, such as metal, glass, plastic, and wood.
Compared to traditional adhesives and sealants, MS Polymers offer several advantages, such as fast cure time, low odour, low VOC emissions, and excellent adhesion to a wide range of surfaces. They also do not require a primer or activator, which simplifies the application process and reduces the overall cost.
Why is it hard to get a good finish compared to other technologies such as silicone?
MS Polymer adhesives and sealants can be more difficult to apply with a smooth finish compared to silicone for several reasons:
- Fast curing time: MS Polymer adhesives and sealants have a fast cure time, which means that once they are applied, they begin to set quickly. This can make it challenging to achieve a smooth finish before the adhesive or sealant begins to cure.
- High viscosity: MS Polymer adhesives and sealants tend to have a higher viscosity than silicone, which means they can be thicker and harder to spread evenly. This can result in uneven coverage and an unsmooth finish.
- Limited work time: MS Polymer adhesives and sealants have a limited work time, which means that they can begin to set before the desired finish is achieved. This can make it difficult to achieve a smooth, even finish.
- Chemical makeup: The chemical makeup of MS Polymer adhesives and sealants can make them more difficult to tool and smooth compared to silicone. This can result in an uneven, unprofessional-looking finish.
However, with proper preparation, technique, and tools, it is possible to achieve a smooth finish with MS Polymer adhesives and sealants. It may take more practice and patience compared to using silicone, but the benefits of MS Polymer, such as its superior adhesion and durability, make it worth the effort.
Why it’s a challenge to not have a good finish?
It is important to have a good finish when using an MS Polymer adhesive or sealant on a motorhome or caravan for several reasons:
- Aesthetics: A smooth, even finish can improve the overall appearance of the motorhome or caravan. An unsmooth finish can make the vehicle look unprofessional and detract from its overall appearance.
- Waterproofing: MS Polymers are often used as sealants to create a waterproof seal between different surfaces on a motorhome or caravan. An uneven or unsmooth finish can compromise the effectiveness of the seal, allowing water to leak into the vehicle.
- Durability: MS Polymers are known for their superior adhesion and durability. A smooth, even finish can ensure that the adhesive or sealant forms a strong bond between surfaces, maximizing its durability and longevity.
- Resale value: A motorhome or caravan with a smooth, professional-looking finish may have a higher resale value compared to one with an unsmooth or unprofessional-looking finish.
Overall, having a good finish when using an MS Polymer on a motorhome or caravan can improve the appearance, waterproofing, durability, and resale value of the vehicle. It is important to take the time and effort to achieve a smooth finish to ensure that the adhesive or sealant performs as intended and to maximize the overall quality and value of the vehicle.
MS Polymers are becoming increasingly popular and taking over the market share of adhesive sealants for several reasons:
- Superior properties: MS Polymers offer superior properties compared to traditional adhesive sealants. They have excellent adhesion to a wide range of substrates, high strength and flexibility, resistance to weathering and UV radiation, and are free from solvents and isocyanates.
- Environmentally friendly: MS Polymers are free from solvents and isocyanates, which makes them more environmentally friendly compared to traditional adhesive sealants. They have low VOC emissions, and they do not release harmful chemicals into the environment during curing.
- Versatility: MS Polymers are highly versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications, including construction, automotive, marine, and aerospace industries. They can be used as adhesives, sealants, and coatings, making them a multi-functional solution for many different applications.
- Easy to use: MS Polymers are easy to use and do not require a primer or activator, which simplifies the application process and reduces the overall cost. They also have a longer shelf life compared to traditional adhesive sealants, which makes them more convenient to store and use.
- Growing demand: There is a growing demand for high-performance adhesive sealants that are environmentally friendly, versatile, and easy to use. MS Polymers are meeting this demand and are increasingly being used in various industries.
Overall, MS Polymers offer several advantages over traditional adhesive sealants, making them a more attractive solution for many different applications. As a result, they are becoming increasingly popular and taking over the market share of adhesive sealants.
What tools are commonly used in the market?
Often we will find that customers have fashioned their own tools for smoothing, or others are using off the shelf products like the Fugi, or other tools that are designed specifically for silicones.
Why don’t silicone tools work with an MS Polymer?
Silicone tools may not work well with MS Polymers because of the chemistry of the two materials. MS Polymers are moisture-curing polymers that contain a silane functional group, while silicone tools are typically made from silicone rubber, which is a different type of polymer.
When an MS Polymer comes into contact with a silicone tool, the silane functional group in the MS Polymer can react with the silicone rubber in the tool, causing the adhesive or sealant to "grab" to the tool. This can make it difficult to achieve a smooth finish, as the adhesive or sealant may drag or pull on the tool, resulting in an uneven or unprofessional-looking finish.
“Grab” is the adhesive’s natural ability to hold the substrates in place whilst it cures. The high grab, high viscosity nature of an MS Polymer means that some customers often resort to using a chemical such as a degreaser to try and get a smooth finish, without the sealant sticking to their tools, however, in doing this, if you spray degreaser over an MS polymer you wash out vital ingredients such as the UV blocker, anti mould etc. Exposing the surface can then cause the adhesive sealant to go yellow, mouldy etc prematurely.
To avoid this issue, it is recommended to use tools that are specifically designed for use with MS Polymers. These tools are typically made from materials that are compatible with MS Polymers, such as polyethylene or nylon, and are designed to create a smooth, even finish without sticking to the adhesive or sealant.
In addition to using the correct tools, it is also important to follow proper application techniques when working with MS Polymers. This can include using masking tape to create clean edges, working in small sections to ensure that the adhesive or sealant does not begin to cure before the desired finish is achieved, and smoothing the adhesive or sealant with a specialized tool before it begins to cure.
What is the solution to this?
At Gludog, we have a 3 step solution;
- Cut the nozzle at a slight angle with a sharp knife
- Fill the void/joint to excess
- Spray the excess sealant with a non-harmful tooling spray such as GD1. You can make your own such as using mild detergent and water.
- Use either Sealant Assistant Smoothing Tool - Radii or our Sealant Assistant Smoothing Tool - Square, depending on the joint design and remove the excess.
By using the round tool, you can change the radii squeezing it to suit. Some customers even like to put a slight kink in it.
Is this something that you would like help with? Try it for yourself.