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Glossary of Terms

Need help deciphering a composite panel or decorative surfacing product? Check out our glossary!

ADHESIVE
A substance capable of holding materials together by surface attachment. The term is used to cover the bonding of sheet material and is synonymous with glue.

BACKER
A non-decorative overlay used on the back of composite panel constructions to protect the substrate from changes in humidity and to balance the panel construction.

BALANCED CONSTRUCTION
A laminated composite panel construction that typically has a similar overlay on both surfaces, which reduces or eliminates warp when subjected to moisture changes.

BASIS WEIGHT
Most often used to characterize the weight of paper products; in the decorative overlay industry the basis weight is defined as the weight in pounds (or grams) per square feet (or square meter) of paper.

BIAXIALLY ORIENTED FILM
Film in which molecules are oriented in two directions within the transverse direction (TD) and machine direction (MD) of the film.

CALENDERED
Polymer is passed through heated rolls, moving at varying rates, to reduce the film thickness.

COATER
A company that paints, prints, primes or otherwise pre-finishes panel substrates with liquid or powder paint finishes.

COATING MANUFACTURER
A company that produces and/or supplies an industrial decorative paint, print or prime coating.

EMBOSSING
A process by which the surface of the panel product is given a relief effect. This can be accomplished with a pressure roll or a patterned caul plate in a hot press.

EPOXY
A two-component thermosetting adhesive typically used for laminating medium and heavy gauge vinyls. Epoxy adhesives are generally blended 1:1 (resin to hardener) by volume and are rollcoated either to the backside of the vinyl web or to the board surface.

HOT MELT
A thermoplastic adhesive that is 100% solid and applied molten to form a bond upon cooling. Hot melts differ from conventional liquid adhesives because they set by cooling rather than by absorption or evaporation of water or solvent.

LAMINATOR
A company that applies an overlay to a panel substrate or other blank material, typically through the use of a bonding system.

MIL
A thickness measurement, typically used for vinyls and papers. One mil = 0.001"

OVERLAY MANUFACTURER
A company that produces and/or supplies a decorative overlay. The manufacturer may add value to the overlay by, for example, applying a topcoat.

POLYURETHANE DISPERSIONS
Polyurethane dispersions are used for the membrane pressing of vinyl films and veneers to a MDF core. They can be used in conjunction with a hardener for higher heat resistance if required. Polyurethane dispersions are typically spray applied to the MDF and then air-dried before mating with the vinyl film or veneer in the press.
 
RESIN CONTENT
In the decorative overlay industry, the resin content is the percentage of resin in the saturated paper in relation to the total weight of the saturated paper.

SOLVENT-BORNE ADHESIVES
An adhesive containing polymeric materials dissolved in volatile organic solvents to which other components can be added to obtain certain desired performance properties, such as higher heat resistance. This type of adhesive is typically used on a hot line laminator where it is applied to the board or film surface, dried and then heat-activated prior to a hot roll laminating station. They are non-grain raising and exhibit good coatability, high heat resistance and excellent bond strengths.

SUBSTRATE
A material that provides the surface onto which an adhesive or coating is spread.

TELEGRAPHING
Transfer of substrate surface defects through the thickness of the overlay material.

THERMOPLASTIC
Resins or adhesives that harden at room temperature and re-soften upon exposure to heat.

THERMOSETTING
Resins or adhesives that cure at room temperature or in the hot press by chemical reaction to form rigid bonds that are not re-softened by subsequent exposure to heat (cross-links).

VOLATILES CONTENT
Weight loss of a saturated paper when heated to bone-dry, expressed as a percentage of the weight of the saturated paper.

WATER-BORNE ADHESIVES
Formulated synthetic polymer (usually polyvinyl acetate or ethylene vinyl acetate). These products are generally used for paper laminating where the adhesive is applied to the web and/or panel surface and tacks up through one or more heated rolls that combine paper to panel.

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