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I wanted to make some panels in which styrofoam sheets are sandwiched in between 2 steel sheets. What kind of adhesives are best for this job. I also want the fastest curing time for adhesive because I want to make these panels using a fast technique.

  • Some kind of spray or roll-on contact adhesive? The glue won't have to be strong, because the styrofoam itself isn't very strong in tension. – Daniel Griscom Mar 5 '16 at 18:20
  • If go with construction adhesive, applied with a caulking gun. Overkill, but it's what the manufacturers expect contractors to use. Once around near the outside edge, maybe an X through the center, maybe only the X... – keshlam Mar 5 '16 at 19:00
  • @Keshlam can u name any construction adhesive suitable for this job – Adnan Mar 6 '16 at 1:48
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    Caution: Most heavy-duty construction adhesive will dissolve foam. You must use panel adhesive that's specifically designed for foam. – isherwood Mar 16 '16 at 19:52
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I recently built a sandwich as hitting platform for a golf simulator; two pieces of 1/4" plywood with 2" styrofoam insulation in the middle. Spray adhesive failed. I then used the Liquid Nails Panel adhesive and it is working well.

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The "strongest" thing that I have ever found for attatching styrofoam was silicone. My opinion is that silicone works well because it is soft and seeps into the crevices between the styrofoam pearls. But silicone takes 24 hours to dry; also you may want/need to rough-sand the steel to help the silicone stick to it. Another ok choice for much less money is Elmers (water based glue); but if it is beading up on the foam it's probably too watery. You can add acetone or MEK to help it spread on styrofoam. There are different kinds of foams (or materials that get called styrofoam) and glues, so be sure to test the acetone or ketone solvent on a small piece of foam and test the solvent with a small amount of glue, to make sure it all works well. I suppose it's well known that petrol will dissolve styrofoam.

  • Silicone is very soft and doesn't have a strong bond. – isherwood Mar 16 '16 at 19:52
  • When choosing a glue, you want to match the strength, flexibility, and other physical characteristics of the material(s) being glued. If the glue is harder or softer than the surrounding materials, the bond will be weak. The dissimilarity between steel and styrofoam is great. But because styrofoam is much weaker, the glue being chosen should cater more to the styrofoam. Silicone doesn't stick very well to steel, due to dissimilarity. Rough sanding the steel will improve the bond. – Ben Welborn Mar 16 '16 at 20:32
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To get a quick grab, use the pull-apart technique with panel adhesive that's suitable for foam. (Standard construction adhesive has solvents that ruin foam, and therefore don't bond.)

Apply the adhesive in a suitable pattern using about a 1/4" bead. Press the components firmly together, then pull them apart. Let them sit exposed to the air for a few minutes, then press them together again. They'll act as contact adhesive, so position the parts carefully. You may need to experiment a bit with your particular adhesive, climate, and humidity to get the right timing.

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If you use foam board adhesives with solvent will dissolve the foam and not grip as well.

I have used PL300 from loctite or you could use an equivalent. It has worked well bonding to concrete and wood.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Loctite-PL300-10-fl-oz-Foamboard-VOC-Adhesive-1421941/202020476

Good luck!

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