A binder is a substance that mediates the bond between two substances. It does this by forming chemical bonds to the various substances or via forces such as cohesion or adhesion.
They are the actual film-forming agents that create the actual paint film when painting a wooden fence, for example.
As a rule, binders are colorless, transparent and usually (thick) liquid or dissolved substances. They envelop or better "carry" solid substances such as dye particles and bind them either to each other or to a carrier.
However, there are also binders for liquids or gases. Examples of this are agents that are used, for example, to absorb spilled liquids such as oils or chemicals. Baby diapers also contain binders in some cases.
Binders are used in a wide variety of industries and materials. In a wide variety of applications.
Applications range from the paint and coatings industry to adhesives, paper, building materials and the wood industry.
All of the above industries require binders to hold their effective substances and to bring them to the place where they are needed. Here is an example from the coatings industry:
Coatings are basically binders and color pigments. These are manufactured with solvents, additives and fillers to form the perfectly matched paint. There are physically drying coatings as well as chemically curing coatings - often in 2-component systems. Radiation-curing coatings also exist, e.g. in the automotive industry.
In 2-component systems, there is a resin (the binder) and a hardener that is added just before the paint is used and chemically cures the paint, so no solvent needs to be used in these cases. Aqueous-based paint dispersions are also common - in addition to binders dissolved in water.
In the adhesives industry, the binder is the actual adhesive. Here, it is often introduced into highly volatile organic solvents. The binder becomes effective through the evaporation or diffusion of these solvents. Depending on the composition of the binder, the adhesive is then effective between different materials. This industry is also increasingly switching to water-based solutions.
Hot melt adhesives (so-called hot melts) also consist of binders. Here, it is present as a pure solid - with appropriate additives that regulate the melting temperature, among other things.
The paper industry also relies on binders. In addition to kaolin or chalk, which make the surface of the paper smooth and supple, rosin-based binders are also used. They can be used, among other properties, to adjust how much the paper absorbs moisture and thus determine whether the paper will be suitable for inkjet printing, newspaper printing, etc.
Binders are universal and it is impossible to imagine today's world without them. They surround us in everyday life in almost infinite places.
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