Whether you need to fix a broken item, create a new project, or make a repair on the go, you’ve probably used an assortment of adhesives throughout your life.
In this article, I primarily focused on adhesive—UV glue. With its versatility, speed, and strength, UV glue is becoming a go-to solution for applications such as electronics and optics, jewelry making, crafts, hobbies, household repairs, and more. UV glue offers a strong and permanent bond in just a few seconds.
So, if you are wondering what UV glue is and what makes it unique? Continue reading to find the ultimate guide on UV Glue for your DIY or professional projects.
- 1 What is UV Glue?
- 2 How Does it Work?
- 3 What are the Light Sources You Can Use to Cure UV Glue?
- 4 Benefits of Using UV Glue
- 5 4 Types of UV Glue
- 6 Properties and Characteristics of UV Glue:
- 7 Applications of UV Glue
- 8 How to Choose the Right UV Glue?
- 9 Pros and Cons of UV Glue
- 10 Step-by-Step Guide to Using UV Glue
- 11 How to Remove UV Glue?
- 12 Safety Measures
- 13 Top Recommendations for UV Glue Products
- 14 Conclusion
What is UV Glue?
UV glue is a versatile adhesive that uses ultraviolet light to bond materials together. It is different from other types of glue in that it does not require air, heat, or pressure to cure, making it a fast and efficient option for many applications.
UV glue typically comes in liquid form and is applied to the surfaces to be bonded.
How Does it Work?
UV glue utilizes ultraviolet light to initiate and complete the curing process. The term “curing” refers to the chemical reaction that transforms the liquid adhesive into a solid state, creating a bond between the substrate materials.
The curing process starts when UV glue is exposed to ultraviolet light of a specific wavelength occurring between 340-380 nm. This light energy causes the photo-initiators in the glue to generate free radicals, which in turn start the polymerization reaction that transforms the liquid adhesive into a solid state.
The speed of the curing process depends on the intensity of the ultraviolet light, the concentration of photo-initiators, and the presence of any inhibitors.
What are the Light Sources You Can Use to Cure UV Glue?
The choice of the light source to use for curing UV adhesive depends on a variety of factors, including cost, precision, and the specific application.
Several sources of UV light are available for curing UV glue, including:
- UV lamps
- UV LED lights
These light sources are mostly used in industrial settings for their high cost and proficiency. Each of these sources has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of which to use depends on the application and desired outcome.
Before using any other light source, keep in mind that the wavelength of the light source is 402 nm which the UV photo-initiator in the glue can absorb easily.
For minor projects, the use of direct sunlight and a flashlight can also help in curing the glue in a few seconds.
If you want to know the further details of the above-mentioned 3 light sources, continue reading!
Lasers are a highly focused light source that can produce a precise and intense beam of UV light. The advantages of using a laser for curing UV glue include a high degree of accuracy and control.
However, the cost of a laser is high, and the specialized equipment required to operate the laser may be complex and hard to maintain.
2. UV lamps
UV lamps are a relatively low-cost and widely available option for curing UV glue. They are used to cure large areas and are suitable for a variety of applications.
However, UV lamps can be less precise and controlled than lasers, and the UV light emitted may be less intense.
3. UV LED lights
UV LED lights are also in use to cure UV glue. These light sources offer many of the same advantages as UV lamps, including low cost and wide availability, while providing a more focused and precise beam of UV light.
However, the technology behind UV LED lights is still relatively new, and the durability and long-term performance of these lights may be uncertain.
Benefits of Using UV Glue
The benefits of using UV Glue are:
Efficient Bonding Solution for repairing material.
4 Types of UV Glue
Knowing about the types of UV glue is important because it allows you to choose the right adhesive for your specific application and ensure a strong, long-lasting bond.
Here are 4 types of UV glue discussed based on their performance and curing properties.
1. Fast-Drying UV-Cure Adhesive:
UV-curable adhesives are the type of adhesives that use a UV light source to initiate the curing process. These adhesives have a photo-initiator that, when exposed to UV light, starts a chemical reaction that quickly cures the adhesive.
UV-curable adhesives are available in a range of chemicals and viscosity including epoxies and acrylics. These are commonly used in applications that require fast curing time, high optical clarity, and resistance to heat and chemicals.
A wide range of applications of UV-curable adhesives is available in electronics assembly, packaging, printing, medical devices, and the automotive industry.
For instance, Permabond UV glue is commonly used in industrial settings for a clear finish, versatility, and improved productivity in the manufacturing processes.
2. Strong-Bonding UV-Activated Adhesive:
UV-activated adhesive provides a strong bond because of their quick cure time and ability to cross-link the polymer chains, creating a three-dimensional network that holds the bond together. This curing process creates a strong bond that is resistant to environmental factors such as heat, temperature, and chemicals.
The UV-activated adhesive is ideal for use on glass, wood, and ceramics because these materials have smooth, non-porous surfaces that allow for a uniform bond. These adhesives are ideal for use on transparent surfaces due to their good clarity effects.
3. Outdoor UV-Resistant Adhesive:
The UV-resistant adhesive is a glue with the ability to resist degradation from exposure to UV light. UV light can cause the adhesive to break down over time, resulting in loss of strength and potential failure of the bond.
UV-resistant glues contain stabilizers that protect the adhesive from UV light and prevent degradation. This is how UV-resistant glue is ideal for outdoor use and provides excellent resistance to UV light, temperature, and moisture.
4. Precise UV-Sensitive Adhesive:
UV-sensitive adhesives have the advantage of high-precision bonding. These adhesives can be dispensed in precise amounts, allowing for accurate and consistent bonding of small and delicate components.
The combination of fast cure time, high strength, good electrical insulation, chemical resistance, high precision bonding, and low outgassing makes UV-sensitive adhesives an attractive option for use in microelectronics and optical assemblies.
Properties and Characteristics of UV Glue:
Some of the incredible properties and characteristics of UV glue are listed here:
- Curing Time
- Resistance to water and heat
UV glue is known for its high bonding strength due to its chemical composition and resistance. Always choose compatible materials for having strong bond results.
As an adhesive, UV glue is ideally suited for these materials:
UV glue is waterproof and ideal for outdoor use. When we expose glue to UV light, it quickly transforms into a solid state and forms strong bonds. This process makes the final bond extremely strong and waterproof.
Think of it like using a flashlight to cure your glue instead of waiting for it to dry – it happens much faster and forms a much stronger bond!
Some UV glues have added ingredients to make them even more resistant to water, making the bond even stronger.
Here are some real-life examples proving the waterproof abilities of UV glue:
- Bond letters and graphics to sign boards
- Bond glass and plastic components in outdoor fixtures provide a weather-resistant bond
- Applicable for fixing outdoor furniture and accessories such as tables, chairs, or umbrellas
3. Curing Time
The curing time is dependent on the glue formulation and UV light. UV glue dries quickly, usually within a few seconds which saves you time when you are working on a project.
UV glue has long-lasting and durable effects. Once cured, it forms a solid bond, resistant to environmental stress.
UV glue can vary in viscosity, depending on the formulations and intended use. Some formulations are thick and gel-like, while others are more fluid to allow easy application.
UV glue can be transparent or opaque, depending on the formulation. For example, you can use transparent glue when you want the appearance of glass or the device to remain intact.
Imagine you’re assembling a fish tank, and you want to bond two pieces of glass together to form the sides of the tank. If you use transparent UV glue, the bond between two pieces of glass allows you to see through the sides of the tank and into the water. In this case, the appearance of the tank remained intact.
The hardness of UV glue can depend on various factors, such as the formulation, curing conditions, and the type of materials.
8. Resistance to Water and Heat
UV glue is formulated as resistant to heat and water, making it suitable for harsh environments. This property enables its users to repair items such as plastic bowls and ceramic tiles.
Applications of UV Glue
UV glue has unique and advantageous applications, unlike other traditional adhesives.
The four application areas of UV glue are:
- Medical devices
- General industrial applications
UV glue is commonly used in the electronics industry to bond or seal electronic components. The fast cure time of UV glue enables manufacturers to produce electronics more quickly and efficiently.
In addition, the high strength and durability of UV glue make it an ideal choice for use in electronics exposed to stress or harsh environments.
For example, UV glue can bond LCD panels to electronic devices and to seal electronic components against moisture and other environmental factors.
UV glue is also used in the optics industry for bonding and sealing optical components.
UV glue is ideal for this application because it does not yellow over time, which can negatively impact the clarity and quality of optical components.
3. Medical Devices:
UV glue is commonly used in the medical device industry for bonding and sealing medical devices and implants.
UV glue is ideal for this application because it is biocompatible, which means that it does not cause an adverse reaction in the body.
In addition, UV glue is also used to bond or seal medical devices exposed to fluids or other liquids, as it provides a waterproof seal that helps to prevent contamination.
4. General Industrial Applications:
UV glue is ideal for general industrial applications, including construction, automotive, and aerospace, because it provides a fast, strong bond resistant to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.
For example, UV glue is used to bond and seal roofing materials, bond automotive body panels, and bond aerospace components.
How to Choose the Right UV Glue?
Each glue comes with its unique specifications, features, compatibility, and application.
Before you invest in UV glue, it’s important to consider whether it’s the right choice for your particular use case.
The initial investment for UV glue use might not be suitable for everyone, especially for creative professionals just starting.
However, there are some instructions you need to keep in mind while choosing the right UV glue:
1. Purpose of UV glue
Different types of UV glue have different properties and characteristics that make them more suitable for specific applications.
For example, some UV glues are designed for bonding glass or metal surfaces, while others are ideal for bonding plastics or rubber.
2. Type of material to be bonded
The type of material to be bonded is an important factor to consider when choosing the right UV glue.
Different materials have different surface properties and chemical makeup, which can affect the strength and durability of the bond.
Choose a UV glue that is compatible with the type of material you are bonding with.
3. Curing Time Requirements
When choosing UV glue, it is crucial to consider the cure time. Some UV glues cure quickly, while others take longer.
The curing time can be an important consideration, depending on the glue formulation and application.
For example, if you need to bond two parts together quickly and efficiently, a UV glue with a fast curing time may be the best choice.
4. Environment and Temperature
The environment and temperature can also affect the performance of UV glue. Some UV glues are ideal for use in specific temperature ranges or environments, such as hot or humid conditions.
5. Strength and Durability Requirements
Different UV glues have versatile strength and durability properties, and some UV glues are for high strength and durability applications.
For example, if you need a bond that can withstand a huge amount of stress or pressure, choose a UV glue that can handle it.
Pros and Cons of UV Glue
UV adhesives come in different forms, each with considerable strength and limitations. Here are some pros and cons of UV adhesives you should know about.
Pros of UV Glue:
1. Quick curing time
Once exposed to a UV light source of a specific wavelength and intensity, glue cures and hardens quickly.
2. Durable and permanent bond
UV glue forms a durable and permanent bond resistant to water, heat, and other factors.
3. Easy to use
UV glue is user-friendly and easy to apply. No mixing, special equipment, or waiting for drying is required.
4. Excellent for gap filling
UV glue is also excellent for filling gaps, as it cures into a solid material that can be sanded, drilled, and painted.
UV glue is non-toxic and free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it safe for use in food and medical applications. It does not emit any fumes or harmful chemicals into the environment.
Cons of UV Glue:
1. Typically expensive than other adhesives
UV glue is generally more expensive than other adhesives, such as cyanoacrylate and epoxy, but it is not expensive to be inaccessible. Due to this reason, it is often sold in small tubes to de-emphasize its high cost.
2. Turns yellow after some time
User feedback and reviews state that UV glue tends to turn yellow after a year or two. UV glue can detract from the appearance of the bonded surface and may not be desirable for some applications.
3. Not suitable for large surfaces
The curing process of the UV glue is dependent on the surface available and the UV light source. In the case of large surfaces, UV light cannot cure the whole surface. As a result, it tends to make a weak bond.
Additionally, the cost of the specialized UV light equipment needed to cure UV glue on larger surfaces can be prohibitively expensive.
Step-by-Step Guide to Using UV Glue
You are curious to learn about how to use UV glue. Look no further than this brief step-by-step guide to using UV glue.
1. Prepare and Clean the Surface
First of all, wipe the bonded surface thoroughly with alcohol or soap and water to remove dirt or debris that can affect the bond.
2. Apply UV Glue to the Surface
Apply a thin and even layer of UV glue to the surface to make a strong bond.
3. Exposure to the UV Light
Next, place the bonded surfaces under the UV light source for 30 seconds. The UV light activates the glue and starts the curing process.
4. Time Required for Curing
The curing time depends on the type of UV glue and the intensity of UV light. Once cured with UV light, the glue dries quickly in a few seconds to a minute.
Here are some pros and cons you need to consider, especially when curing the material with UV glue.
How to Remove UV Glue?
If you want to remove the UV glue, you can use petroleum or soak the hardened adhesive in soapy water. Or else you can use solvents such as alcohol, acetone, and methylated spirits.
If UV glue gets on your clothes, it’s challenging to remove, as it cures rapidly and forms a strong bond. However, the following steps can help to remove it:
1. Act Quickly:
The longer the glue remains on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove. Try to address the stain as soon as possible.
2. Use Solvents:
Nail polish remover, acetone, or isopropyl alcohol can help to dissolve the glue and lift the stain. Apply a small amount of solvent to a cloth and gently rub it into the stain.
3. Wash with Soap and Water:
After using a solvent, wash the affected area with soap and water to remove any residue.
Take these safety precautions into account while working with the UV-curable adhesive:
1. Precautions while handling UV glue
- Your workplace should always be clean.
- You must protect your eyes, mouth, and nose as UV adhesive can irritate and cause allergic and respiratory tract infections.
2. Personal protective equipment
- Your workplace should be well-ventilated.
- Always wear gloves, protective goggles, and a respiratory mask when working.
3. Storage of UV glue
- Store UV glue in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and excessive heat.
- Store it at a temperature between 15°C and 25°C, with a relative humidity level not exceeding 50%.
4. Disposal of UV Glue
- UV glue should be disposed of properly to minimize potential harm to human health and the environment.
- Read carefully the manufacturer’s instructions to dispose of UV glue.
Top Recommendations for UV Glue Products
Here are some of the best UV glue examples for DIY and professional projects. You can pick one based on your needs and the project’s requirements.
The ones listed here are almost suitable for any material and project.
1. Bondic UV LED LIQUID Resin
This UV adhesive kit is 100% waterproof, heat-resistant, and non-toxic. Bondic UV ket includes UV glue and a compact LED UV light. It cures the materials fast upon exposure to UV LED light. This kit is an authentic option to bond materials such as wood, leather, ceramic, rubber, and more! It is also a great option for jewelry repair, crafts, and hobbies.
2. Damn Good UV Glue
This strong UV-curable glue is used for electronic potting, plastic welding, tacking, jewelry making, and crafts. In a nutshell, it is used to bond and fix anything in seconds by exposing the glue to a 395nm UV light source. It dries clear and is excellent for gap-filling.
3. Loctite 34931 UV Adhesive
In terms of curing, strength, and durability, bonds with UV adhesive are top-notch. Loctite UV lights adhesive bonds and seal glass-to-glass or glass-to-metal components. Making it ideal for use in electronics, optics, medical, and industrial devices. It is also an excellent option for repairing wood, plastics, metal, and pieces of glass.
UV glue is a versatile adhesive solution that is activated by ultraviolet light. However, it’s critical to understand the properties of this type of glue, including its curing time, strength, and viscosity, as well as the proper safety precautions to take when using it.
By considering the factors and following the best practices mentioned in the article, you can ensure that your UV glue applications are successful and meet your desired outcome.
I fell in love with crafts & fixing things when I was 11 years old – after discovering the world of blogging, I am combining my passions to present the world with well-researched guides & reviews about everything related to adhesives & glue.