Using Adhesives with Z-Clips

Occasionally when you are installing Monarch Z Clips (which works similar to a french cleat), you will find that you do not have the option of using a mechanical fastener (a screw). This can be because the panel you are securing the panel clips to are too thin, or because it is a material that can not be readily screwed into. In these situations you will find yourself looking for a solution in an adhesive.

When first considering an adhesive, you have to start with a few basic questions:

  1. What sort of environment is the adhesive going to be in? Will it be in ambient temperatures? What sort of humidity/moisture levels?
  2. Will the load be static or dynamic?
  3. Is the material of the clip (6063 Alloy Aluminum) similar to that of the substrate you are adhering it to, or do you need to take into account differences in heat expansion and contraction?
Side view of Monarch Z Clip to illustrate fluting
Side view of Monarch Z Clip to illustrate fluting

We find that generally people end up with one or two solutions: a double sided VHB tape or an epoxy.

The upside of using a double sided tape is that they are easy to work with. VHB tapes are versatile, and can be used with aluminum panels, phenolic panels or thin wood blocking on pictures and signs. The downside is they have limited holding power and longer curing time. A rule of thumb for VHB tape is that you need 4 lineal inches for each pound of static load. One common VHB tape our customers will use is the 3M 5952 VHB tape because it is conforming and takes advantage of the fluting in our Monarch Z Clips. The 3M 5953 VHB tape has a 72 hour cure period. You can learn more by searching for VHB at solutions.3M.com.

Epoxies on the other hand are structural and have larger holding values. The downside is that they must be clamped and held in place, and given time to cure. Common 3M epoxies used with our clips are the DP100NS and the DP420NS. The DP100NS has a 5 minute work life, 24 to 48 hour cure time and a 1,500 pound per square inch strength (although this is not specifically tested). The DP420NS has a 20 minute work life, a 2 hour time to handle and a 24 hour time to cure, but has a 4,500 pound per square inch strength. Epoxies can also be used to reinforce concrete fasteners when using z clips in outdoor applications. You can learn more by searching for either product at solutions.3M.com.

Alternative view of Monarch Z Clip to show the fluting used to maximize the surface area for adhesives.
Alternative view of Monarch Z Clip to show the fluting used to maximize the surface area for adhesives.

As opposed to installations with mechanical fasteners, customers using adhesives will often use a continuous length on both sides of the installation, to maximize the surface are of the tape exposure.

For more specific advice, you can contact us here at Monarch at 631-563-8967, or you can contact the real experts on the engineering staff at the Industrial Adhesives and Tape Division at 3M by dialing 1-800-362-3550 and then following prompts 2, 2, 2.

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