Does Glue Conduct Electricity?

Does Glue Conduct Electricity?
By Bill Wyatt
November 7, 2020
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Does glue conduct electricity? If you’re working with electrical appliances or circuitboards, this is something you need to be aware of. 

Does Glue Conduct Electricity?

With very few exceptions, glues and adhesives do not conduct electricity. Most glues are manufactured from petroleum products, so they have similar properties to any other plastics once cured.

The exceptions to this rule are usually specifically formulated adhesives designed to be conductive.

What type of glue conducts electricity?

Very few household glues are conductive at all, with the exception of a few adhesives which were specifically manufactured to be a user friendly replacement for soldering.

Conductive glue is normally known as wire glue, metallic glue, or solder glue. They are designed to be used as a replacement for soldering and contain silver, copper, iron or some other conductive metal.

Although these conductive pastes are more conductive than regular adhesives, they are a bit of a compromise.

The added metal elements reduce the strength of the adhesive compared to regular glue, and the adhesive greatly reduces the conductivity (for both heat and electricity) compared to regular solder.

Can I use glue instead of solder?

Depending on what your requirements are, it may be better to use solder instead of a metallic conductive glue.

If conductivity isn’t an issue, you would be better off using a two part epoxy designed for metals like JB-Weld. It’s stronger than any conductive glue you can get.

For electrical components where conductivity is important, a conductive wire glue may be a viable alternative to soldering. 

Wire glue is suitable for low power projects, such as a light switch or a battery connector. It’s not suitable for anything that takes mains power, as it can not handle the same amperage and may lead to a potentially dangerous fault.

Does hot glue conduct electricity?

The gluesticks used in hot glue guns are made from polyurethane, a type of plastic which is an electrical insulator. Hot glue guns do not conduct electricity.

Hot glue is good for insulating from electrical circuits, and is often used to attach components to a circuit board without fear of creating a short. 

Can I use glue on a circuitboard?

Glue is best used on a circuitboard for attaching components, not as a replacement for solder.

When dealing with such small electrical signals, it’s important to have a proper connection between components. 

Use solder to attach the connectors, and glue to hold them in place if necessary.

If you’re using hot glue, make sure to use it at the lowest temperature so as not to damage any other components.

Avoid using any glue with a strong solvent, since it may damage plastic and silicone.

Does super glue conduct electricity?

Any Cyanoacrylate (super glue) will not conduct electricity.

When superglue dries, it becomes just like a hard plastic. Electricity won’t pass through it.

While it’s wet, theoretically it may be conductive – however CA glue dries extremely quickly, in a matter of seconds.

Metallic glues for conducting electricity

Conductive glues are usually regular adhesives mixed with various metals.

The metals used vary, but are usually silver, copper, or iron.

  • Silver based adhesives are very expensive but offer the best possible conductivity without soldering.
  • Copper based adhesives (usually called Wire Glue) are also very conductive, but not quite as expensive as silver.
  • Iron based adhesives are less conductive but cheaper than both Silver and Copper. 

No matter which conductive glue you choose, you are sacrificing adhesion for conductivity (as more metal is added to the mixture) or vice versa.

Note:

JB-Weld is infused with steel and is advertised as a replacement for welding. JB-Weld is a very strong two part epoxy, but it’s not an electrical conductor. 

Conclusion

Conductive glue is a pretty new technology. 

Usually, it’s not a great option due to price and conductivity.

It’s less conductive than soldering, and can be very expensive, especially those containing silver or copper.

In general I would recommend not to waste your money on these glues, and get a cheap soldering set from Amazon instead.

Hope this was useful for you.

Thanks for reading

-Bill

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