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April 17, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About Adhesive Bonding Primers

Product engineer applying an adhesive bonding primer to a glass panel

Adhesive bonding primer is a fundamental component in the world of adhesives, ensuring that surfaces are prepared and ready for a strong, durable bond. But what exactly is adhesive bonding primer, and why is it so important? In this article, we’ll explore the purpose and benefits of adhesive bonding primer, as well as some common applications and tips for using it effectively.

What is Adhesive Bonding Primer?

Adhesive bonding primer is a pre-treatment solution that is applied to surfaces before bonding with an adhesive. This solution helps to improve adhesion by modifying the surface characteristics, increasing the surface energy, and promoting chemical bonding between the adhesive and the substrate (the material being bonded). In other words, it serves as an intermediary layer that ensures a strong, long-lasting bond between two surfaces.

Why is Adhesive Bonding Primer Important?

Adhesive bonding primer is critical for several reasons:

  1. Improved Adhesion: Some materials have low surface energy, which means they don’t bond well with adhesives. Primers increase the surface energy, allowing for better bonding between the adhesive and the substrate.
  2. Enhanced Durability: When surfaces are adequately prepared with a bonding primer, the resulting bond is stronger and more resistant to environmental factors such as moisture, temperature fluctuations and chemical exposure.
  3. Reduced Surface Contaminants: Bonding primers can help remove or neutralize contaminants that might be present on a substrate, preventing them from interfering with the bond.
  4. Compatibility: Primers can ensure compatibility between the adhesive and the substrate, preventing adverse reactions or weakening of the bond over time.

Common Applications

Adhesive bonding primers are used in a wide range of industries and applications, including:

  1. Automotive: In the automotive industry, adhesive bonding primers are used to bond components like windshields, body panels and trim pieces, ensuring a strong bond and increased durability.
  2. Aerospace: Primers are crucial in aerospace applications where high-strength bonds are required for the assembly of aircraft components, such as wings, fuselage and interior fittings.
  3. Construction: In construction, adhesive bonding primers are used to bond various materials like wood, concrete and metal, providing a lasting bond for structural components.
  4. Electronics: Adhesive bonding primers are used in electronic applications to bond elements, such as circuit boards and various electronic devices, establishing reliable performance and longevity.

Types of Adhesive Bonding Primers

Choosing the right adhesive bonding primer for your project is crucial for achieving a lasting bond. There are several types of primers available, each designed for specific applications and materials. Here are a few of the main types of bonding primers and their distinct advantages:

Epoxy-Based Primers

Epoxy-based primers are popular due to their versatility and excellent adhesion properties. They consist of two components—a resin and a hardener—that, when mixed, create a chemical reaction resulting in a powerful bond. Epoxy primers are suitable for a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics and wood.


  • Exceptional bond strength
  • High resistance to chemicals, moisture and temperature fluctuations
  • Versatility across various materials and applications


  • Automotive and aerospace components
  • Construction and industrial equipment
  • Marine applications

Acrylic-Based Primers

Acrylic-based primers are known for their fast curing times and strong adhesion properties, making them ideal for time-sensitive projects. These primers are typically one-component and can be applied in thinner layers compared to epoxy-based primers. Acrylic primers are well-suited for bonding plastics, metals and glass.


  • Fast curing times
  • Good bond strength and durability
  • Easy application and handling


  • Electronics and consumer goods
  • Automotive and transportation components
  • Signage and display fabrication

Polyurethane-Based Primers

Polyurethane-based primers are flexible, offering excellent elongation and impact resistance. They are especially suitable for applications where the bonded materials are subject to movement or stress. These primers are commonly used with materials like rubber, plastics and metals.


  • Flexibility and impact resistance
  • Good adhesion to various substrates
  • Resistance to abrasion and wear


  • Automotive interior and exterior components
  • Flexible joints and seals
  • Sports equipment and footwear

Understanding the different types of bonding primers and their unique properties is essential for selecting the best primer for your specific project.

Tips for Using Adhesive Bonding Primer

The proper use of adhesive bonding primer is vital for achieving a lasting bond between materials. This section will provide valuable tips on surface preparation, application methods, drying times and compatibility for the best possible results.

  • Surface Preparation: The first step in using an adhesive bonding primer is to make sure the surface is clean, dry and free of contaminants like dust, oil or grease. Improper surface preparation can lead to weak bonding or premature failure.
    • Clean the surface with a suitable cleaning agent or solvent, depending on the material and type of contaminants present. Check that the cleaning agent doesn’t leave a residue that could interfere with adhesion.
    • For rough or uneven surfaces, consider lightly sanding or abrading to create a more uniform surface for better primer adhesion.
    • After cleaning and preparing the surface, allow it to dry completely before applying the primer.
  • Application Method: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the adhesive bonding primer. Common application methods include:
    • Brushing: Use a clean, soft-bristle brush to apply an even coat of primer. This method works well for small or intricate surfaces.
    • Spraying: Use a spray gun or aerosol can to apply a consistent layer of primer. This method is ideal for larger surfaces or situations where a smooth, even coat is essential.
    • Dipping: Submerge the substrate in the primer and remove it slowly, allowing excess primer to drip off. This method ensures complete coverage of complex or irregular shapes.
  • Drying Time: Allow the adhesive bonding primer to dry for the recommended time before applying the adhesive. The drying time can vary depending on factors such as temperature, humidity and primer thickness. Adhering to the specified drying time allows the primer to properly bond with the substrate.
  • Compatibility: Before using an adhesive bonding primer, verify that it is compatible with both the adhesive and the substrate. Incompatible primers can lead to adverse reactions, weakening of the bond over time, or even failure. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or conduct a small-scale test to double-check compatibility.
  • Application Environment: Consider the environment in which the adhesive bonding primer is being applied. Temperature and humidity can affect the primer’s performance and drying time. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal temperature and humidity ranges during application.


Adhesive bonding primers play a vital role in ensuring strong, durable bonds across a wide range of industries and applications. By understanding the importance of adhesive bonding primer and the various types available, you can select the most suitable primer for your specific project. Furthermore, following the tips and best practices for surface preparation, application methods, drying times, and compatibility checks will help you maximize the effectiveness of your bonding process and achieve long-lasting results.

Ready to Optimize Your Primer Application Process?

Selecting the ideal applicator for applying primer depends on various factors. At Designetics, our team of regional sales representatives and engineers possess extensive knowledge and experience to help you choose the most suitable applicator for your exact requirements. We consider technical, quality, and aesthetic factors—such as primer viscosity, drying time, and the substrate to ensure accurate and consistent primer delivery.

With a selection of thousands of proprietary fluid applicators, we offer a comprehensive range of solutions for virtually any process. Moreover, we can design custom applicators and automated systems tailored to your specific needs. Whether you aim to enhance production time, minimize waste, or transition from a manual to a semi-automated or fully automated fluid application process, Designetics is dedicated to providing comprehensive solutions.

To learn more about our fluid applicators and automated systems, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is prepared to assist you and will make sure you receive the optimal solution for your primer application needs.