Focus on Unusual Foam Sealant Applications

Posted on 7/25/2012 12:29:50 PM By Bob Braun

In the blogs 1-7 I focused on many pretty technical aspects for sealants and adhesives such as, the many related associations and code groups associated with our products and applications, test methods and specifications for materials as well as future focus and the directions for these associations.  In this blog I am keeping it lighter with a number of illustrations and discussions of somewhat unusual applications for foam sealants and foam adhesives.  Some illustrations are not tested or recommended by the product manufacturer but are done by the users and in these cases even worked.  Just as many unusual applications also exist for the higher density elastomeric sealants and I will report on them in an upcoming blog. 

As readers to this blog are aware, the multi-functional uses of sealant/adhesive products have been expanding almost exponentially for some time.  This is partly due to innovations in product chemistry but also through end user inventiveness.  However, before beginning this journey, I first want to list the basic and primary material differences between the aerosol lower density (polyurethane) and the higher density multi-polymer tube sealants/adhesives. 






Foam sealant


40-80 lb/FT3

1-3 lb/FT3

Tool or Trim Before/After Cure

Before -Tool

After - Trim


Usually Lower

Usually Higher

Movement Capability

Well Defined

In Progress

Gap Profile Required

Hour Glass

Not Specific

Gap Size

Small to Med

Med to Large

Dispensing Control



UV Resistant



Insulation Value



Vapor Barrier/Retarder



Air Barrier



Structural Strength



Post Cure Expansion (photo 1)

Virtually zero or neg.

1X to 3X

Pressure-Build @ Cure (photo 2)

Virtually zero

Low to High


These differences help drive the proper use for each material for any application.

The two tests below demonstrate the foam sealant characteristics of post cure
expansion and pressure-build using a load cell to measure the expansion pressure


 ASTM Foam Sealant Post Expansion  AAMA 812 Foam Sealant Pressure-Build Test Jig
Expansion During Cure
Pressure-Build Measure Per AAMA 812
 Water Proof Camera  Water Proof Camera
Foam Adhesive Fills the Irregularities
Between a Rough Concrete Sill and a
Finished Wood Window Sill
The Finished Installed Window Sill
 ASC pic_Holding the Tile On  
Re-adhering Loose Tile On a Moscow
Crudely Installing a Cash Change Box in Moscow
 OP Septic  Sealing a basement Ceiling Pipe
A New PVC Septic Pipe Sealed Into Very Old
Asphalt-Pressed Paper Pipe
A Rough Cellar Roof Pipe Penetration Nearly Completed


I acknowledge that most of the above applications were employed without warranty; however, each one solved an immediate problem and gave time for more permanent repairs later.  I personally inspected each one several years or more later and they had effectively functioned though they may not have been pretty.  Such is the need in many world locations.  Nearly all were also not violating the local codes.  Such examples eventually help to drive the technology for products forward and help to show the strengths and weakness for these products.  They may even lead to future proper evaluations leading to formal recognition as well.

Also in this blog, I also wanted to further develop the theme related to how videos add value.  In the March-April Standardization News an article featured how ASTM will assist with the production of high quality video summaries of Test Methods.  Recently I reviewed the ASTM web link below on the same subject and noted many fine examples of videos already developed and the details on applying for ASTM assistance in producing a video.  I suggest taking a look at this link… 

And consider how you the use of videos do not just promote sealant/adhesive products but to help educate the design community and visually explain how sealants and adhesives are evaluated and tested before they are promoted for sale.

In Blog #9 I will focus on the many new applications for sealants and their evolving multi-functional use.

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