Both rubber cement and contact cement serve specific purposes in the world of adhesives.
Rubber cement is great for projects requiring repositioning and temporary bonding, while contact cement is ideal for immediate and permanent bonds, especially with heavy materials.
Here, I will delve into the differences between rubber cement vs contact cement, their properties, applications, and factors to consider when choosing the right adhesive for your projects.
Read More: E6000 vs Contact Cement
Is Rubber Cement the Same as Contact Cement?
No, rubber cement and contact cement are not the same. They are different types of adhesives.
Rubber cement is made from natural rubber mixed with a solvent like acetone, heptane, or toluene. It is a water-based adhesive that can bond flexible materials temporarily or semi-permanently.
Contact cement is made from synthetic rubber dissolved in a solvent. It is a solvent-based adhesive that can bond various materials permanently and water-resistantly.
Contact cement requires applying the adhesive to both surfaces and letting them dry until tacky. Then, the surfaces are pressed together and bonded instantly.
Understanding Rubber Cement
Rubber cement is a popular adhesive known for its versatility and ease of use. It is a liquid-based adhesive that typically contains unvulcanized rubber dissolved in a solvent, such as acetone or hexane.
This unique composition gives rubber cement its ability to remain tacky even after the solvent evaporates, allowing for the repositioning of materials before a permanent bond forms.
This feature makes it ideal for applications where precision and adjustments are essential.
Rubber cement can be used to bond rubber, vinyl, and other flexible materials. It is also commonly used for arts and crafts projects, such as scrapbooking, collage making, and stamping.
Advantages of Rubber Cement
- Repositionable: Its ability to be repositioned before setting ensures precise alignment of materials.
- Non-Permanent Bond: Ideal for projects where a temporary bond is needed or when items need to be removed and repositioned.
- Does Not Wrinkle Paper: Unlike many other adhesives, rubber cement does not cause wrinkling or warping in paper-based materials.
Applications of Rubber Cement
- Crafts and Scrapbooking: It is generally used in arts and crafts projects, including scrapbooking, collages, and card making, as it provides a temporary bond and allows for easy repositioning of elements.
- Mounting Photos and Posters: Due to its non-permanent nature, rubber cement is often used to mount photographs, posters, and artwork as it can be removed without damaging the surface.
- Paper Bonding: It is an excellent choice for bonding paper, cardboard, and lightweight materials.
- Repairing Items: Rubber cement can be used to mend small tears in paper products, such as books and documents.
Understanding Contact Cement
Contact cement, on the other hand, is a strong and fast-bonding adhesive known for its instant adhesion properties.
It is typically based on neoprene or polychloroprene rubber and is available in solvent-based or water-based formulations.
Unlike rubber cement, contact cement forms an immediate and permanent bond when the solvent evaporates.
Contact cement is ideal for heavy-duty applications, such as automotive repairs, countertop installation, woodworking, and shoe repairs. It is also durable, water-resistant, and heat-resistant.
Advantages of Contact Cement
- Instant Bonding: Contact cement creates a strong and immediate bond, which is ideal for time-sensitive projects.
- High Strength: It provides a robust and durable bond, especially for heavy materials and substrates.
- Waterproof: Once cured, contact cement is resistant to water and moisture, making it suitable for outdoor applications.
Applications of Contact Cement
- Laminates and Veneers: Contact cement is commonly used for bonding laminates, veneers, and decorative surfaces to wood, metal, or other substrates.
- Shoe and Leather Repair: It is extensively used in shoe and leather repair due to its strong and flexible bond.
- Bonding Heavy Materials: Contact cement is suitable for bonding heavy materials like rubber, leather, and metal.
- Installation of Flooring Materials: It is often used in the installation of linoleum, tiles, and other flooring materials.
Rubber Cement vs Contact Cement Comparison Table
|Property||Rubber Cement||Contact Cement|
|Bonding strength||Weaker, temporary bond||Strong, permanent bond|
|Application method||One or both surfaces||Both surfaces|
|Durability||Less durable||More durable|
|Flexibility||More flexible, can stretch with the materials||Less flexible, may crack if the materials bend or stretch too much|
|Removability||Easy to remove||Difficult to remove|
|Odor||Mild odor||Strong odor|
|Ideal for||Delicate materials and projects||Heavy-duty applications|
Difference Between Rubber Cement and Contact Cement
The main differences between rubber cement and contact cement are:
In comparison to rubber cement, contact cement lasts a lot longer and is much more durable. It can withstand heat, water, and solvents better than rubber cement.
Rubber cement is more prone to peeling off or cracking over time.
Rubber cement is more flexible than contact cement. It can accommodate the movement and expansion of the materials without compromising the bond.
Contact cement is more rigid and may crack if the materials bend or stretch too much.
Rubber cement can be applied to one or both surfaces, whereas contact cement must be applied to both surfaces.
Contact cement requires careful alignment and pressure to form a bond, while rubber cement allows for repositioning and adjustment.
Rubber cement is easier to remove than contact cement. It can be peeled off or rubbed off with a finger or an eraser.
Contact cement is more difficult to remove and may require solvents or scraping to dissolve or detach it.
How to Choose Between Rubber Cement and Contact Cement
When choosing between rubber cement and contact cement for your project, you should consider the following factors:
Type of Materials
If you want to bond rubber or other flexible materials that can stretch without breaking or peeling off easily if needed later on, then rubber cement is a better choice.
If you want to bond laminate or other rigid materials that require a strong and permanent bond, then contact cement is a better choice.
Level of Precision
If you need to align the surfaces precisely before bonding them together, then contact cement is a better choice because it forms an instant bond once the surfaces are pressed together.
If you need some flexibility in positioning the surfaces before bonding them together, then rubber cement is a better choice because it allows for repositioning and peeling off.
Level of Durability
If you need a durable bond that can withstand water exposure or heat, then contact cement is a better choice because it is water-resistant and heat-resistant.
If you need a temporary or semi-permanent bond that can be removed later on, then rubber cement is a better choice because it can be peeled off easily.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Contact Cement Stronger Than Rubber Cement?
There is generally more strength in contact cement than in rubber cement. Contact cement can form a more durable and water-resistant bond that can withstand heat, solvents, and stress better than rubber cement.
Can Contact Cement be Used on Rubber?
Yes, contact cement can be used on rubber. However, it may not be the best choice for bonding rubber to rubber or other flexible materials.
Contact cement is more rigid and may crack if the materials bend or stretch too much.
Rubber cement is more suitable for bonding rubber to rubber or other flexible materials as it can accommodate the movement and expansion of the materials without compromising the bond.
Is Contact Cement Good for Rubber?
Contact cement is good for rubber if you want to create a strong, permanent, and water-resistant bond between rubber and other materials such as wood, metal, leather, or plastic.
However, it may not be good for rubber if you want to create a flexible, temporary, or semi-permanent bond between rubber and other flexible materials such as vinyl or fabric.
Rubber cement is better for this purpose as it can form a flexible bond that can stretch without breaking.
Can I Use Contact Cement to Patch a Bike Tire?
No, you should not use contact cement to patch a bike tire. Contact cement is not designed for repairing punctures or tears in rubber items such as tires or balloons.
It may not seal the hole properly and may cause further damage to the tire. You should use a specialized tire repair kit or rubber cement to patch a bike tire.
Is Contact Cement Waterproof?
Yes, contact cement is waterproof. It can form a water-resistant bond that can withstand moisture and humidity.
However, it may not be suitable for submerging in water for long periods of time. You should use a marine-grade adhesive for this purpose.
Know More: Is Contact Cement Waterproof?
Does Rubber Cement Dry Hard?
No, rubber cement does not dry hard. It dries into a thin layer of rubber that remains flexible and elastic. It can stretch with the materials without breaking.
Can I Use Rubber Cement on Tires?
Yes, you can use rubber cement on tires. Rubber cement is commonly used for repairing punctures or tears in rubber items such as tires or balloons.
It can seal the hole and prevent air leakage. However, you should use a specialized tire repair kit or rubber cement that is designed for this purpose.
Is Rubber Cement a Permanent Glue?
No, rubber cement is not a permanent glue. It forms a temporary or semi-permanent bond that can be adjusted or removed later.
It is also not very durable and may peel off or crack over time. If you want a permanent glue, you should use contact cement or another type of adhesive.
How Strong Is Rubber Cement?
Generally, rubber cement is not very strong compared to other types of adhesives, such as contact cement. Rubber cement forms a flexible bond that can stretch with the materials, but it may also peel off or crack over time.
Rubber cement has a tensile strength of about 0.5 MPa, which is much lower than the tensile strength of contact cement, which ranges from 1.5 to 3 MPa.
Rubber cement has a shear strength of about 0.2 MPa, while contact cement has a shear strength of about 1.4 MPa. These values indicate that contact cement forms a stronger bond than rubber cement.
Rubber cement and contact cement are both useful adhesives for different purposes. I hope this article has helped you understand the difference between rubber cement vs contact cement.
Rubber cement is better for bonding flexible materials and creating temporary or semi-permanent bonds that can be adjusted or removed later.
Contact cement is better for bonding different types of materials and creating permanent bonds that cannot be adjusted or removed later.
Depending on the needs of your project, you can choose the glue that will work best for your particular project.