Converting School title
Learn the Most, from the Best, for the Least.

Adhesion and Adhesives for Converters

Online Course Description

Video Sample Clip

Adhesion is a word that covers many issues that are central to converters. At one extreme is the level of adhesion of an easily removable laminate. At the other is the need to ensure that a coating will remain stuck to the substrate during an aggressive tape adhesion test. In between there are pressure-sensitive adhesives, hot melt adhesives and fun ideas such as gecko tapes. And fighting against you are the ravages of time, temperature, humidity and light.

This course unites all these aspects by looking at the forces that hold things together (surface energy, chemical adhesion, "nail adhesion", entanglement), the forces that separate them (vertical pull and horizontal crack propagation), the extra effects that dissipate those separating forces and therefore enhance adhesion and the things that undermine adhesion in the long term.

By having a clear idea of what effects are important for each aspect of an adhesion issue, by clearing away some popular adhesion myths, and by having a set of practical tools to implement each relevant aspect of the theory, those who have attended the course will be able to make an incisive contribution to practical problem solving in the lab and in production, in formulation and in practical trouble-shooting.

Comments from past attendees:

"Professor Abbott was very entertaining as a presenter. This class could have been torture, but he made it fun and interesting."

"Great job, very informative and it was nice to see a different view on adhesion."

"All topics were valuable because Professor Abbott touched each topic at a good level."

"Very well taught and detailed! And appreciate the info provided for future use."

Course Instructor 

The course is given by Professor Steven Abbott who combines his own academic and industrial coating experience to give you the best of both worlds - focusing only on the bits of theory that can give the maximum real-world impact.

Course Outline


  • Getting comfortable with units and terminology

Sticking together

  • What holds things together?
  • What are the relative strengths of those effects?
  • The whole of adhesion science in 30min

Surface tension and surface energy

  • What are they?
  • How are they measured?
  • How are they measured in even more detail (and when would you bother)?
  • Good wetting does NOT equal good adhesion
  • Quick diagnostics for emergencies

Surface enhancement

  • Cleaning
  • Roughening (and why it doesn''t work like they say)
  • Increasing surface energy (corona, plasma ...)
  • ... and why it''s often irrelevant and/or counter-productive
  • Chemical primer coatings (or how to shift the problem up one level)

A Crash Course in Rheology

  • The rheology you need for understanding adhesives
  • How to love G'' and G''''
  • The joys of Temperature-Time Equivalence & WLF


  • A reminder of the basics
  • Why do we care about different molecular weights?
  • What is Tg and why does it matter?
  • Rigid polymers and floppy polymers - the science of snakes
  • What is the size of a polymer molecule - and why does it matter?
  • What is a DMA curve and why should we care about it?
  • Why we really need to know about solution viscosity and melt viscosity curves

Like attract like

  • Why does like attract like?
  • How do you know how "alike" two things are?
  • Using Hansen Solubility Parameters as a good enough guide
  • How "like" controls adhesion - HSP, the chi parameter, inter-penetration and more

Light adhesion

  • Why it is so easy...
  • ... and why it can easily go wrong
  • How to be Spiderman

Strong adhesion

  • The violence of a tape test....
  • ... and what is needed to survive it
  • ... and why surface energy is 1000x too small to be relevant
  • Why thin layers can be stronger than thick ones
  • Why nail adhesion is not good enough
  • ... and why we need entanglement
  • How to get entanglement
  • ... likeness
  • ... solvent
  • ... heat
  • ... and the real reason that corona treatments can sometimes work
  • Adding chemical bonding
  • Why aiming for super-strength can give super-weakness

Adhesion via dissipation

  • Pressure Sensitive Adhesives?
  • ...complications, contradictions, insights, explanations
  • Why "bad" polymers give "good" adhesion
  • Dahlquist criterion and Chang windows
  • Controlled "bad" adhesion: Easy peel, Cohesive failure
  • The key measurements for PSA formulators

Hot melt adhesives

  • (Mostly) PSAs with the complication of hot application

Undermining adhesion

  • Temperature
  • Moisture
  • Ultra Violet light
  • Bad things in Production

A short-cut to lifetime measurement

  • Why 60-day adhesion tests give so little information for so much time
  • ASAP - how to get much more lifetime information in far less time

Applying it to real life

  • Trouble-shooting tips
  • Class discussion of attendees'' real-world issues

Who should take this course?

This course is suitable for Technical staff who have a need for a deeper understanding of adhesion that they can apply to their real-world formulation difficulties. No particular technical expertise is required, just some experience with general adhesion issues and a willingness to be open to ideas that can help solve those problems. Attendees will be provided with the necessary spreadsheets and apps to bring theory and formulae to life so that the ideas from the course can be applied straight-away to problems in the lab and on the production line.

Course Access

Register Now!

Log In

If you have registered for this online course, you must log in to access the course. 

Log In

If you have any questions or problems, please contact us at 803-948-9470 or


The world's web process community.
Join. Participate. Succeed.

USA Office

201 Springs Street
Fort Mill, SC, 29715
Phone: 803-948-9470
Fax: 803-948-9471

Europe Office

PO Box 69533
1060 CA Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: 0031 (0)20 8208635
Fax: 0031 (0)20 8208634

facebook linklinkedin linkyoutube linktwitter linkinstagran