Toluene and Trichloroethylene

toluene TriCHloro


Toluene, Trichloroethylene and Rubber


Toluene (recommended for raw rubber use only) 

The most common solvent in the sheet rubber industry has to be Toluene. For those of you that don’t know Toluene is used for tackifying raw rubber sheets, or to clean any surface impurities prior to application. In order to tackify the sheet a “GAS” is created to better promote adehsion. Gas is a slurry of rubber crumbs dissolved in Toluene. Toluene effectively breaks down the surface of the rubber sheet compound and makes it extremely sticky. It is a very flexible and forgiving solvent. Chemlock 289, 290, 286 etc.. is a commonly used Toluene based rubber adhesion systems, therefore it is a natural solvent for that application.

Some of the properties of Toluene are the following.

-Clear and water-insoluble

-Toluene is heavier than air so when it off gasses it falls to the ground.

-It is an aromatic hydrocarbon, meaning it is a derivative of oil product in particular a Benzine derivative.

-Smells like paint thinners

-Can be used in an internal combustion engine.

One of the negative side Toluene it is generally not good for you. Respirators face shields and gloves are recommended for handling it.

It is also not recommended to clean buffing’s off of a cured rubber sheet. What can happen is that by buffing a cured rubber sheet you effectively make the surface porous. The toluene will saturate and enter the rubber sheet. If not given enough time to evaporate out of the sheet, toluene will affect the adhesive layer negatively in a cured rubber sheet, cold bond cement is Trichloroethylene and zinc oxide based.

Check your adhesive system base solvent before deciding which solvent to use.


Trichloroethylene (recommended solvent for cured rubbers)

Anybody who has ever has spliced and bonded conveyor belting is familiar with this solvent. Trichloroethylene is actually part of the Halocarbon family. Halocarbons are used as an industrial solvents. When cleaning rubber buffing or removing surface impurities, in a cured sheet this is the solvent to use.  When using SC2000 or any equivalent adhesive system the only solvent you should use is Trichloroethelene. These type of adhesive systems are 60-90% trichlorethylene with a zinc oxide.

-Trichloroethylene is a good solvent

-Great degreaser for hydrocarbons.

-Clear and water insoluble.

-Smells like paint thinner.

-Heavier than air and will pool at the bottom

One of the negative sides of this chemical is that it can react to soda lime. Can cause depression due to is’t general anesthesia effects. Respirators face shields and gloves are recommended for handling it.

Please consult manufacturers and available MSDS sheets for more information.




Dan Chamberland

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