Marine Applications

Posted on 6/4/2013 5:03:44 PM By Sandy Niks

Sealants (and adhesives) have a long history in shipbuilding. Early applications used tars and pitches to seal the joints of wooden ships, as well as providing the wood some protection from the water, whether salt or fresh.

The watercraft of today is produced from a wide assortment of materials – steel, aluminum, wood, fiberglass, rubber, glass, etc., creating a range of vessels from personal-sized kayaks and jet skis to aircraft carriers and submarines.  Assembly methods vary to match the materials, such as welding steel. While some components could use the same adhesives as in the non-marine counterparts, it appears that adhesives formulations have typically been modified to better meet the additional requirements of these applications.  This would include, for example, the increased water exposure and joint loading that happens when travelling on water.

Chemistries include two-part epoxy adhesives, one-part moisture cure polyurethanes, silicones, methacrylates (in solvent), two-part no-mix adhesives, anaerobic adhesives, resorcinol-formaldehydes, polysulfide sealants, and several others.

Just as in other segments of the transportation sector, there are many adhesive and sealant applications within the marine segment. The adhesive or sealant must be selected to match that specific application. For example, anaerobic adhesives are generally selected for threadlocking or thread sealing applications. Another example is the use of resorcinol-formaldehyde for wooden decks. Epoxy adhesives may be the choice for bonding metal hulls. Applications that are above the waterline may require a different adhesive or sealer than a similar application below the waterline. There are also numerous interior and electronic applications.

Many test specimens are typical of any adhesive and/or sealant testing, such as lap shear. Some bonding applications may have unique test specimens to better represent the joint design and loading conditions. Environmental exposure testing is also very important.  An example is ASTM D 1183, “Standard Practices for Resistance of Adhesives to Cyclic Laboratory Aging Conditions”, which includes “Exterior, marine” as a test condition using various temperatures, exposure times, and humidity – even immersion in “substitute ocean water”.

Suppliers: Reminder - this is not an endorsement of any company. Nor, I am sure, is this a complete list of suppliers. Some of these links go directly to product descriptions, while others go to articles describing marine applications – and how their respective product(s) would work.









ASTM International

Adhesives Technology Handbook, Arthur H. Landrock, Noyes Publications, 1985, ISBN: 0-8155-1040-3, pp 176, 401.

Handbook of Adhesive Technology, edited by A. Pizzi, K. L. Mittal, Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1994, ISBN:  0-8247-8947-1, Chapter 17, “Polysulfide Sealants and Adhesives”, by Naim Akmal and A. M. Usmani; p 319.

Article:  Bond Characteristics and Qualifications of Adhesives for Marine Applications and Steel Pipe Repair”, by Glen Smith, Tarek Hassan, and Sami Rizkalla, North Carolina State University, USA

Additional reference:

Adhesives in Marine Engineering, edited by J R Weitzenbock, DNV, Norway, Woodhead Publishing Limited, ISBN 1 84569 452 X, ISBN-13: 978 1 84569 452 4, May 2012, 232 pages

comments powered by Disqus