Adhesive for Freezing Temperatures – Which Is Right For You?

In the packaging industry, one component that plays a pivotal role in ensuring the integrity and reliability of packaging is the adhesive. Specifically, adhesives designed for freezing temperatures are a cornerstone for products that require storage and transportation in cold environments. This blog post delves into why freezing-temperature adhesives are so crucial to the packaging industry and the unique benefits they offer.

cold thermometer

Understanding Freezing Temperature Adhesives

Freezing temperature adhesives are formulated to retain their adhesive properties and performance at temperatures well below 0°C (32°F). These adhesives are engineered to withstand the rigors of cold storage, refrigerated transportation, and even the fluctuating conditions of freeze-thaw cycles. They are crucial in industries such as food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and any sector requiring cold chain logistics.


What Types Of Glue Perform Well In Freezing Temperatures?

Polyurethane (PUR) and Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) glues are both recognized for their effective performance in cold temperatures, catering to a diverse range of applications that require durability and resilience under such conditions. 

PUR glue, in particular, is renowned for its strong bond strength and flexibility, maintaining its adhesive qualities well below freezing temperatures. 

The specific temperature at which PUR glue fails can vary depending on its formulation; however, PUR adhesives are generally designed to remain effective well below 0°C (32°F), often maintaining their properties down to -62°C (-80°F) or lower.

This makes it an ideal choice for outdoor or refrigerated environments where temperatures can drop significantly. The chemical composition of PUR allows it to react with moisture in the air, creating a cross-linked bond that is not only resistant to cold but also to water, heat, and chemicals, further enhancing its utility in harsh conditions.

On the other hand, EVA glue, a type of hot melt adhesive, offers a versatile solution for cold temperature applications within a certain range. Its flexibility and bond strength in cooler environments make it suitable for many uses, including packaging and bonding materials that might experience temperature fluctuations. While EVA glue does have a threshold below which its performance may start to decline, typically around its glass transition temperature, it is engineered to remain effective in cold temperatures down to -20°C to -50°C (-4°F to -58°F), depending on the formulation. This characteristic enables EVA glue to sustain its adhesive properties, ensuring reliability in applications that don’t reach extreme cold but still require durability and flexibility.

Both PUR and EVA glues are thus vital in sectors that demand robust adhesive solutions capable of withstanding low temperatures without compromising the integrity or performance of the bond. Their distinct properties cater to a broad spectrum of cold temperature applications, making them indispensable in industries ranging from construction and automotive to packaging and electronics, where materials are regularly exposed to or stored in cold environments.


Choosing Between EVA and PUR Adhesive For Cold Weather

Deciding between PUR (Polyurethane) and EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate) glue for cold temperature applications involves considering several key factors related to the specific requirements of your project, including temperature range, bond strength, flexibility, and environmental exposure. Here’s how to navigate the choice:

Temperature Range

PUR Glue: Polyurethane adhesives are known for their excellent performance in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. They typically remain effective and retain their bonding strength in temperatures well below freezing, often down to -40°C (-40°F) or lower, depending on the formulation. This makes PUR an excellent choice for applications that are exposed to very low temperatures or require long-term durability under varying environmental conditions.

EVA Glue: EVA adhesives perform well in cold temperatures but have a higher glass transition temperature compared to PUR, usually in the range of -20°C to -50°C (-4°F to -58°F). While suitable for many cold temperature applications, EVA may become brittle or lose effectiveness closer to its lower temperature limit.


Bond Strength and Flexibility

PUR Glue: Offers superior bond strength and flexibility, making it ideal for applications that require a durable, long-lasting bond. PUR adhesives create a stronger bond that is resistant to moisture, chemicals, and mechanical stress, which can be particularly important in applications where the bonded materials will be subjected to physical stress or outdoor conditions.

EVA Glue: Provides good bond strength and flexibility within its effective temperature range. It’s suitable for applications where the bond does not need to withstand significant mechanical stress or where temporary bonding is acceptable.


Environmental Exposure

PUR Glue: Due to its chemical resistance and strong bond, PUR is better suited for applications that may be exposed to moisture, chemicals, or varying temperatures. Its ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions without degrading makes it a reliable choice for outdoor or industrial applications.

EVA Glue: While EVA can handle cold temperatures to a degree, it is less resistant to moisture and chemical exposure compared to PUR. EVA is more suitable for indoor applications or where the environmental conditions are controlled.


Application Process and Cost

PUR Glue: Requires specific application equipment and conditions, such as moisture to cure properly, and is generally more expensive than EVA glue. The application process for PUR may also take longer due to its curing time.

EVA Glue: Is easier to apply, typically using hot melt adhesive guns, and sets quickly. It is also less expensive than PUR, making it a cost-effective option for projects with budget constraints or where the superior performance of PUR is not necessary.


Making the Decision

When choosing between PUR and EVA glue for cold temperatures, consider the most critical aspects of your application: the environmental conditions, the required durability and flexibility of the bond, exposure to chemicals or moisture, and budget constraints. For applications demanding high performance in extreme cold, exposure to harsh conditions, or where a durable, long-lasting bond is crucial, PUR glue is likely the better choice. On the other hand, for less demanding applications, where the temperatures do not drop to extreme lows or where budget considerations are paramount, EVA glue offers a practical and effective solution.


Take Away

When deciding between PUR and EVA glues for cold temperature applications, the choice hinges on specific project requirements. PUR glue stands out for its exceptional performance in extreme cold (down to -40°C/-40°F), superior bond strength, and flexibility, making it ideal for demanding environments where durability and resistance to moisture and chemicals are paramount. EVA glue, while effective within a range of cold temperatures (down to -20°C to -50°C/-4°F to -58°F), is more suited for indoor applications or where conditions are less severe, offering a cost-effective solution with easier application. Consider factors such as environmental exposure, required durability, and budget to make the most informed choice for your needs.


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