A selection of short explainers for some of the industry’s technical jargon.
Acronyms and Synonyms

Terminology of the adhesives & coatings industry

With industry terms full of acronyms and synonyms such as those in the specialist adhesives and coatings sector, different terminology can be heard in discussion around the same product, raw material, application, or effect.  We therefore thought it would be useful for our past, present, and future customers to highlight some of these differences to make understanding of adhesives and coatings technology that little bit less brain taxing!

We hope you find this interesting, relevant and helpful, however, if there is anything our technical team can support you with, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01204 573736 or

Magnified image of the word glossary


Acronym or Synonym: Initiator

Catalyst used with two component adhesives to cause curing process to commence. There are different activators for different adhesives.

British Adhesives & Sealants Association

Acronym or Synonym: BASA

Europe’s only independent National trade body dedicated solely to the interests of the adhesives and sealants industry.

Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants & Elastomers

Acronym or Synonym: CASE

Acronym for the category of materials that include coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers. Often used for overviews of products available or markets.


Acronym or Synonym: Superglues

A group of adhesives that cure instantly and bond to a wide variety of surfaces.

Hotmelt adhesives

Acronym or Synonym: HMA’s, also known as hot melt glues

Based on thermoplastic polymers. Formulated and manufactured to be 100% solid and only become liquid when heated beyond their melting point. Commonly used in the packaging industry.

Natural rubber-based adhesives

Acronym or Synonym: NR

Commonly used in pressure sensitive and solvent-based adhesives.


Acronym or Synonym: PBD

A synthetic elastomer commonly used in the manufacture of tyres.


Acronym or Synonym: PTFE

A synthetic polymer made up of carbon and fluorine with very high melting points, water, and chemical resistance. Therefore, very common in the coating of cooking equipment.

Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

Acronym or Synonym: PSA’s

As the name suggests, these adhesives require pressure for the bond to take place. They can be tailored to have high or low initial tack strengths by manufacturing with the correct polymer, for example NR’s or SBR’s. They have a wide range of applications from surgical tapes to vehicle wraps.

Styrene Butadiene rubber-based adhesives

Acronym or Synonym: SBR adhesives

A synthetic rubber that is regarded as one of the most used in adhesives and coatings. Provides excellent abrasion, crack, heat resistance, and longevity.

Urea-formaldehyde resins

Acronym or Synonym: UF, also known as aminoplasts

Commonly used in the production of adhesives for woodworking and joinery due to their cost effectiveness, strength, rigidity, and fast cure.

Structural adhesives

Acronym or Synonym: Load bearing adhesive

An adhesive that creates bonds between two or more substrates that will bear loads of high magnitude throughout the products life cycle.  These loads, or forces, may include surface movement, shock, vibration, chemical exposure, and extreme temperature fluctuations.  The adhesive is designed to enable the product to withstand these and remain intact.


Acronym or Synonym: Substrate

The material or surface that the adhesive or coating is being applied to.

Burn off

Acronym or Synonym: Surface preparation

Using heat above a materials degradation point to remove it from a surface.

Coefficient of Friction

Acronym or Synonym: CoF

A figure which represents the strength of frictional effect in a coating. Can be either static or dynamic with the latter normally having the lower rating.

Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene

Acronym or Synonym: ETFE

A thermoplastic that falls in the Fluoropolymer category. Used in coatings which require good chemical and abrasion resistance for a durable finish.


Acronym or Synonym: Fillers, extenders, and plasticisers

Non-chemically reactive substance that is added to an adhesive formulation to change its properties.

Original Equipment Manufacturer

Acronym or Synonym: OEM

OEM’s provide products or materials that are required as part of another company’s finished product.


Acronym or Synonym: CR, also known as Neoprene which is a brand of Dupont.

Provides a form of contact adhesive that is commonly used where an instant bond is required without the need for much pressure.


Acronym or Synonym: PU or PUR

Thermosetting polymers that do not melt when heated and can be customised to be either rigid or flexible. PU’s have excellent binding qualities for adhesives. For coatings, they provide durability and protection against the elements for an endless list of substrates.

Protective clothing

Acronym or Synonym: PPE

Several adhesive coatings are used in the manufacture of PPE to give the required effect, for example flame or chemical resistance and waterproofing.

Thermoplastic polyurethanes

Acronym or Synonym: TPU’s

Used in the manufacture of heat-activated adhesives and coated fabrics. They offer great versatility in their application so used for a wide range of substrates which may be difficult to bond to.

Volatile organic compound

Acronym or Synonym: VOC

Carbon-based chemicals that have high vapour pressure and evaporate easily at room temperature.  To name a few, VOC’s are commonly found in the use of products such as adhesives, coatings,  cleaning chemicals and cosmetics.


Acronym or Synonym: Glue, paste, cement, gum

Substances that contain binding agents that can join and hold multiple substrates together.

Chemical Crosslinking

Acronym or Synonym: Vulcanisation

The joining of adjacent molecules of an adhesive during the curing process normally using a curing agent. The terms are used separately – crosslinking for thermosetting polymers such as plastics and vulcanisation for rubbers. Both processes lead to hardening of the material.

Curing agent

Acronym or Synonym: Hardener or accelerator

A single or mixture of substances that are added to an adhesive to control the curing process, for example, to speed up or slow down.

Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene

Acronym or Synonym: FEP

Another member of the fluoropolymer family and has non-stick, non-wetting and low friction properties. Provides coatings with excellent chemical resistance.

Nitrile Butadiene Rubber-based adhesives

Acronym or Synonym: NBR’s, also known as nitrile rubber adhesives

Made up of synthetic rubber copolymers-acrylonitrile and butadiene. Widely used elastomer due to its tensile strength and chemical and fuel resistance.

Perfluoro alkoxy

Acronym or Synonym: PFA

PFA is another fluoropolymer. They have higher chemical resistance and anti-stick properties than PTFE’s but less resistance to abrasion.


Acronym or Synonym: PE

A type of thermoplastic that forms a stretchy film with very good low temperature characteristics. Commonly used for films and laminates in the graphics sector.

Polyvinylidene Fluoride

Acronym or Synonym: PVDF

A fluoropolymer resin used in coatings to provide a variety of substrates with durability against moisture, UV, and pollution. Therefore, especially useful for exterior applications.

Storage stability

Acronym or Synonym: Shelf life or working life

The length of time a packaged adhesive can remain stable and fit for purpose under specific temperature conditions.

Thermosetting resins

Acronym or Synonym: Thermoset

Adhesives and coatings manufactured with thermosets generally require lower curing temperatures than those made up of thermoplastics. Additives can be added to thermoset adhesive coatings to speed up or slow down curing. Commonly used in the aerospace and defence industry.


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Terminology of the adhesives and coatings industry

Acronyms and Synonyms With industry terms full of acronyms and synonyms such as those in the specialist adhesives and coatings sector, different terminology...