UV-Cured Adhesive

A few specialty glues set up and harden quickly when exposed to ultraviolet light. They're good for attaching hinges to glass. December 2, 2006

I recently saw a History Channel story on adhesives. They showed a guy squeezing glue out of a tube and shining a pen light (sized) at the glue as it came out and he built an instant stalagmite. My wife was talking to me so I couldn't devote all nine of my brain cells to the show but I thought it was some kind of UV light. Was this just for show or does an affordable system like this exist?

Forum Responses
(Adhesive Forum)
From contributor C:
This is used extensively in the glass biz. There are lines of hardware (hinges, latches, locks, corner blocks and etc.) designed to be used with UV glue and it can also be used for bonding glass to glass. Think display case.

The glue we use is an epoxy with the hardener already mixed in. When exposed to UV the chemistry of the hardener is changed and a standard 2 part epoxy cure begins. The initial cure is very fast - a few seconds. Full strength is reached in a few hours.

So far we haven't used it for anything else. At least one of the materials must transmit UV to the glue line. I might try it for gluing the glass into glass cab doors. It seems to be about the same price as a 2 part epoxy. Our local Blum distributor carries it and the light, which seems to be little more than a "black light" fluorescent tube in the same fixture used for under cabinet kitchen lighting. It might have higher UV output..

From the original questioner:
It must be moderately strong then. If it'll glue metal to glass then wood to wood is a laugher. I'm just thinking of speeding up some non-standard assembly processes; a 'tack weld' if you will.

From contributor C:

It's more like very strong - Epoxy strong. Wood to wood might not work that well, depending on the size of the pieces. UV light must be able to penetrate to the glue line for maximum effect. I did read, though, that in cases where the entire joint doesn't get UV, the cure will start at the edges and once started will continue into the joint. I really should try it since I've got the stuff. It could be very useful if it works wood/wood or metal/wood.

From contributor E:
For rapid assembly on boats we would use epoxy and a few dots of hot glue to hold a piece in place. These days I'm using hotmelt PUR for much of my work. For really big assemblies I can use TB2 with a few spots of PUR, hold sixty seconds and move on.