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Theory Of Adhesion and its Practical Implications A Critical Review

Muhammad Arif Butt


The quality and durability of a coating is directly related to the nature of adhesion. Chemists tend to associate adhesion with the energy liberated when two surfaces meet to form an intimate contact termed as an interface. In other words, adhesion may be defined as the energy required to dismantle the interface between two materials. Physicists and Engineers usually describe adhesion in terms of forces, with the force of adhesion being the maximum force exerted when two adhered materials are separated. There are many theories regarding the mechanism of adhesion such as adsorption (van der Waals forces), electrostatic, diffusion (entanglement of polymers with a substrate), chemical bonding, mechanical interlocking etc. all of which may play a significant role in interfacial bonding. The energy required to separate the adhesive (coating) and the substrate is a function of the adhesion level i.e. interactions at the interface, but it also depends on the mechanical and viscoclastic properties of the coating materials. It is definite that all the mechanisms mentioned could affect bond strength and adhesion. Because of the complexity of adhesion phenomena, there are many models for it. None of them, on its own, can fully explain adhesion. However, each model describes a part of the complex processes involved in adhesion.

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Faculty of Engineering and Technology

University of the Punjab