Foam bonding

  • Bonding to foams is necessary in a variety of industries, from furniture and building to automotive. The best adhesive for foam will depend on the type of foam you’re using and the surface you’re bonding it to. Like every other material, foams have a surface energy, which affects adhesion. Very low surface energy (LSE) foams, like polyethylene or polypropylene, will require different adhesives than comparatively higher surface energy (HSE) foams, like polyester, polyurethane or PVC.

    The surface energy of the material to which you will be bonding the foam is also an important consideration, be it fabric, metal, powder coated paint, other foam or something else. Environmental conditions and bond stress should also be considered when choosing an adhesive.

    When bonding relatively high surface energy HSE foams, we suggest you consider the following materials:

    • If the closed cell foam you are bonding has a slightly uneven surface, you may want to consider a transfer tape, such as 3M 927, which flows into the surface therefore creating adhesion along the entire surface. For a more uneven surface with higher peaks and troughs, you may benefit from a thicker transfer tape, such as 3M 950, which is twice the thickness of 3M 927. Selecting a tape with a thin adhesive risks the adhesive adhering only to the peaks of the uneven surface, which is a small percentage of the foam, resulting in a poor adhesion.
    • If your foam part requires additional stability, we would suggest a double coated polyester tape, such as 3M 9088-200. This tape prevents stretching of the foam part, which can open the cellular structure, thus weakening the foam. This tape in particular is recommended for neoprene foams.
    • If your finished foam part requires both conformability and stability, for example for edge protecting and requiring a bend to your foam, you may wish to consider a double sided tissue tape, such as 3M 9086.

    For LSE foams, which are generally more difficult to bond to, you should consider adhesives specifically made for bonding this type of material. You will recognize them by their suffix of LE:

    • Conformable transfer tape, 3M 9471LE and its thicker version 3M 9472LE, offer excellent adhesion and can bond to textured surfaces
    • For more stability to your finished foam part, consider 3M 9495LE, which is a double coated polyester tape.

    These adhesives are available in rolls, sheets or die-cut to custom shape to fit perfectly with your application.

    If you are unsure which adhesive would best suit your project, you are welcome to consult our knowledgeable team who can make a material recommendation based on your specific use. We recommend you test adhesives in situ to ensure they perform to your specifications.