Is Gorilla Glue Good for Plastic?

Gorilla Glue has been around for a little more than two decades. In that time, the original formula has earned a reputation for being a tough and versatile adhesive. At the same time, the product line has expanded to include different formulas for liquid adhesives, epoxies, and tapes. With such a solid reputation and so many different options, you might be thinking that Gorilla Glue can handle anything.

Is Gorilla Glue good for plastic? Specific formulas of gorilla glue are good for plastic. There are numerous products in the Gorilla Glue line. There are also many basic formulas for making plastic. Each Gorilla Glue formula has strengths and weaknesses that make it ideal for some jobs and unsuitable for others. Similarly, every different formula for plastic results in different characteristics. So, some combinations work well while others do not.

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If you’ve seen the commercials with the tough gorilla who shows up to save the day no matter what needs to be repaired, you might think that Gorilla Glue can do any job. It turns out that every Gorilla Glue formula has been developed to do a particular job well. As a result, no one Gorilla Glue formula is going to do a good job on every task. 

Using Gorilla Glue on Plastic: Yes or No?

Gorilla Glue is good stuff—there’s no disputing that. Still, every product has its limits, and it would be unfair to expect Gorilla Glue to be great at everything. That’s probably why the success of the original formula was quickly followed by the launch of numerous different products under the Gorilla Glue name. 

The original formula doesn’t do a very good job on any type of plastic, and there is no Gorilla Glue product that is ideal for certain kinds of plastic. In this article, we’ll take a look at how the original formula works to explain why it doesn’t do well on plastics. We’ll also look at the formulas that do well with certain kinds of plastics and explain why that is the case. Then we’ll identify the types of plastic that Gorilla Glue doesn’t work on.

Original Gorilla Glue

The original formula of Gorilla Glue does a great job on “virtually anything” and delivers “incredible, industrial holding power and versatility.” But plastics don’t fall under the umbrella of “virtually anything,” and that’s because of the way that Gorilla Glue’s original formula works and the physical properties of plastic.

The original formula is “a moisture activated polyurethane adhesive.” That means that it works best when joining materials that are porous and contain latent moisture. Gorilla Glue claims that the original formula “will work well on many types of plastic” but notes that they don’t recommend using “on polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) plastics or any type of rubber with high oil or plasticizer content.”

However, another source familiar with thermoplastics and composites points out that Gorilla Glue is not as good at joining plastics as acrylics or high-end hot glues. This is because plastic tends to be nonporous, which leaves no way for CO2 to escape during curing. That means that the trapped gas will leave voids and result in a weaker bond. Another problem is that plastics don’t supply the moisture that Gorilla Glue needs to cure completely—so larger joints could remain uncured near the middle.

Gorilla Super Glue

Gorilla Super Glue dries faster than the original formula and provides a stronger, more durable bond. It has been formulated to work well on small bonds and join “a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, stone, ceramic, paper, rubber, and more.” While it is approved for use on some plastics, it comes with technical specs that include the following caveat.

Gorilla Glue notes that Gorilla Super Glue “requires some absorbed moisture on the bonding surfaces to cure” and that “certain difficult to bond plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, have little to no moisture and will not form good bonds.” That means that we’re still in search of a solution for these difficult to bond plastics.

Gorilla Epoxy

Gorilla Epoxy comes in a special syringe package that contains separate tubes of epoxy resin and hardener. It claims to provide a “two-part, gap-filling formula” that “easily bonds steel, aluminum, glass, wood, ceramic, tile, and most plastics.” Still, when you delve further into the details, you will find that Gorilla Epoxy has limitations.

Gorilla Glue observes that “Gorilla Epoxy works well on PVC Sheets,” but they noted that it is “not recommended for use on PVC pipe or certain low surface energy plastics, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), or certain types of rubber with high oil or plasticizer content. Even with a resin and hardener combination, Gorilla Glue doesn’t have enough confidence in their product’s ability to join those challenging materials to guarantee its performance on them. So, the search continues.

What Works on Polyethylene or Polypropylene Plastics?

It turns out that there are very few products on the market that claim to do a good job of gluing these two challenging polymer formulas. So, what are your options if you need to repair an item that is made out of one of them? Hobby shops, hardware stores, and internet retailers are good places to look for liquid plastic adhesive and primer combinations that will work on these materials.

Fortunately, most products constructed of these materials are inexpensive and easy to replace. That means that finding an appropriate recycling center for the old item and buying a new one is always an option. But some of us just can’t take the easy way out. If you absolutely have to fix an item that is made out of PE or PP plastic, you’ll need to take a two-step approach.

The best advice that we’ve found for gluing PP and PE plastic involves prepping the surfaces to make sure that they provide the best possible chances of a solid bond. Once you’ve done that, you will need to apply a plastic adhesive primer to each surface. Once the primer sets up enough to be tacky; you will have to follow behind with a liquid plastic adhesive. Once you establish the bond, you will have to clamp it in place until it has had time to cure.

If that sounds like a lot of work, you’re right—it is. For most of the items that you use in your everyday life that are constructed out of one of these two materials, it will be much easier to buy a replacement. However, some automotive parts and appliance parts are made out of these materials, and buying replacements can be pretty expensive. In situations like that, it might be worth the time and effort to repair a break rather than breaking the bank.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of jobs that Gorilla Glue does well. The original formula has become famous for its strength and versatility. When you add a full range of specialty adhesives, epoxies, and tapes to that—you end up with a brand that deserves its stellar reputation. Still, there are some things that Gorilla Glue doesn’t do well. It’s better to recognize the limitations than to use the wrong tool for the job and end up disappointed. PP and PE plastics are a challenge for most commercially available adhesives. When you need a strong bond on one of the material types, it pays to consider all of your options. When gluing is the best solution, you’ll need to use a primer adhesive combo that stands a good chance of getting the job done.

Related Questions

  1. Will epoxy glue plastic? Epoxy will not glue plastic very well because epoxy doesn’t bond well due to the absence of surface texture.
  2. Does Gorilla Glue work on Metal? Gorilla Weld is a type of Gorilla Glue that is specifically designed to work on metal.
  3. What is the difference between Gorilla Glue and Super Glue?Super Glue is a cyanoacrylate adhesive, while Gorilla Glue is a polyurethane. Unlike Gorilla Glue, Super Glue does not require extended clamp time or moisture to activate. It does not foam during set up.

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