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Name: Shanell
Status: student
Age: 14
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 5/3/2004

Why does glue not stick to the bottle?

It does not stick because it is not "dry". If you leave the bottle open, or let the glue get into the threads on the cap. IT WILL STICK.

Vince Calder


What kind of bottle? What kind of glue? I bet your bottle is clear PETE plastic or frosty poly-ethylene plastic. If you used white glue or school glue, forget that. Try some solvent-drying glues from a tube, or better: a hot-melt glue gun. More below.

There are a few ways that glues use to stick to things. Physical interlocking, or inter-dissolving, or pure surface-wetting, or chemical bonds. For every kind of glue, there are some substances it can't stick well to. For some substances, none of those ways work well, and almost no glues work for it.

To find out what glue works on your bottle, you need to be specific about what substance your bottle is made of.

White glue and yellow carpenters glue are useless for sticking to most smooth surfaces, like glass bottles and clear plastic coke bottles. These glues do not try to inter-dissolve with the substance, they just try to wet into pores and then dry, hopefully "hooking" into the substance when done. This works fine for paper, wood, cloth, and a few other grainy things. But for glass and hard plastics, it is useless.

For glass bottles silicone RTV is probably best, but any soft rubbery glue might stick, especially if you clean it with alcohol first.

Clear plastic coke bottles are a plastic abbreviated "PETE" (poly-ethylene-ter-ethalate). A clear plastic is usually meltable and dissolvable, so a lot of glues work for it. Model airplane glues, or cyanoacrylate super-glues, or most rubbery glues, are good. Water-drying glues (white glue) will not work, but most solvent-drying glues will. Water cannot dissolve or melt a little of the plastic like the solvents can. I think epoxies work OK, too, at least until the thin plastic flexes and peels itself away from thick, hard glue. Alcohol or acetone cleaning might help here, too.

A few bottles are poly-vinyl-chloride, PVC. It is similar to PETE in glue-ability by solvent glues. I think epoxies can fail for it. PVC is often soft and frosty, but clear bluish bottles are made of it too.

Gallon milk jugs are poly-ethylene, I think. (It will tell you which plastic on the triangular recycling stamp on the bottom of the bottle.) You can often tell poly-ethylene because it cannot be clear; it is always frosty, translucent. Polyethylene and polypropylene and nylon are pretty difficult, because they do not have any pores, and almost no solvents can dissolve them. Only soft, rubbery solvent-drying glues can work, because glues can only hang onto the plastic by wetting its surface. They could peel off easily if one tried, but if the glue is soft, it flexes to stay touching the plastic. Glues with hydrocarbon solvents like hexane are better-wetting than CHO solvents like acetone. (read the label) Lexel, EC-6000 work considerably better than average. Maybe Goop works OK, have not tried. Soft rubbbery Silicones (RTV) work a little, but do not usually stick very hard. Melting it together (welding) usually works best, so hot-melt glue sometimes does the job. Trash cans and most buckets and a good many shampoo bottles are polyethylene too. So "PE" is often frustrating.

DuPont's Teflon (TM) is almost impossible. No glues stick to it unless someone first chemically changes the surface into a different substance. That takes exotic chemicals.

Jim Swenson

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