What is contact cement? (with photos)

Contact cement can be removed with nail polish remover.

Contact cement is a powerful adhesive made from neoprene and synthetic rubber. It is highly resistant to moisture, adheres almost instantly and does not require fixing the glued materials. This adhesive can be susceptible to deterioration, however, and is not as effective when strong bonding is required over a long period of time. Works best when used with plastic, rubber, glass, leather, metal and varnish.

Work gloves and goggles must be worn when working with contact cement.

This type of adhesive is available in both a flammable and a non-flammable form. Both are effective, but the non-flammable version is water-based and won’t last long. When used on substances such as varnish and leather, non-flammable cement causes the material to warp and curl at the edges. Flammable cement provides a stronger bond, but it also produces fumes that can explode when exposed to an open flame. In most situations, flammable cement is the preferred choice, but users should always consider the environment in which it will be used before applying it.

Contact cement is best applied with a roller or brush.

Temperature and humidity are two important factors that affect the solidification rate of cement. High temperatures cause the adhesive to adhere more quickly, while low temperatures reduce the rate of evaporation of the liquid, resulting in slower drying. High humidity causes contact cement to dry less quickly, while low humidity speeds up the process. When accurate positioning is important, slower bonding is valuable and allows plenty of time to position objects before the cement is fully bonded. High temperatures and low humidity are ideal when time is short.

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Temperature is a factor that can impact how quickly or slowly the cement will bond.

Users must clean and dry all surfaces before applying contact cement. Any particle or residue can cause the adhesive to adhere improperly, reducing its effectiveness. A brush or roller should be used to apply cement to most objects to avoid potential skin contact. Users should coat both sides of the object with cement and press them together for at least 15 minutes to allow the adhesive to harden. Scattered cement can be easily removed with nail polish remover, which breaks chemical bonds.

The longer the lid is removed from the contact cement container, the more the internal adhesive will dry. The lid should only be opened when necessary, or the cement may solidify and become completely unusable. Users should always apply cement in a well-ventilated area, as fumes can be toxic and flammable. Inhaling the gases can cause irritation to the lungs, throat and nose. Eye protection and gloves should always be worn when handling or applying this adhesive.

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