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Frequently asked questions about sealants and adhesives
There are many differences between acrylic and silicone. We have listed the main differences below:
- Elasticity: Silicone is elastic, i.e. flexible. Acrylates, on the other hand, are plastoelastic – they are moderately flexible and are more prone to cracks.
- Suitability for painting: Unlike acrylates, silicones cannot be painted. Silicone is available in individual colours, acrylate is not.
- Water permeability: Silicone is waterproof – acrylic, on the other hand, should only be used with a moderate moisture load.
- Odour: Depending on the crosslinking reaction, silicone has a specific odour or is odourless.
- Loss of volume/shrinkage: Since water evaporates while acrylic is curing, acrylates generally have significantly higher shrinkage than silicones.
Since silicones are waterproof, they are often used in sanitary facilities (with fungicidal option). Furthermore, thanks to their elastic properties, they are used in expansion joints. Acrylates are recommended in areas with a moderate moisture load and tensile loading, and are therefore often used in indoor areas. Note: We offer special acrylic and/or silicone sealants according to the area of application. You can find the perfect product for your project in our application assistants.
How quickly silicone-based sealants cure depends on several factors. A high temperature and humidity speed up curing. Normally, silicone cures from the outside in and 2-3 millimetres will have cured within the first 24 hours. Over the following days, curing slows down because water from the surroundings, which is required for the reaction, must first penetrate through the cured silicone layer. I.e. the thinner the joint, the quicker it cures. Note: Fission products are released during curing and the silicone may smell.
As with silicone sealants, the drying speed depends on temperature and humidity in the space in question (the higher they are, the quicker it dries) and on the size of the joint. Acrylic also cures from the outside in.
The following applies for both silicone sealants and acrylic sealants: Store the cartridges as cool (maximum +20 °C) and dry as possible and avoid extreme temperature changes. Note: Since acrylate sealants contain water, they should never be exposed to frost.
The amount of silicone or acrylic you need for a joint depends on the actual cross section of the joint, of course. In principle, however, the following applies for both silicone and acrylic-based sealants: Joint width (mm) x joint depth (mm) = amount of sealant used (ml) per running metre of joint (rmt). Or calculated the other way round: Package contents (ml) / consumption (ml) per rmt = possible joint length (rmt)
Silicone is waterproof or water-repellent. That’s why a silicone-based sealant is the right choice in sanitary facilities and generally in areas in which there is a certain degree of moisture. Furthermore, our silicone sealants for sanitary facilities contain a suitable fungicide which prevents mould growth.