Hot melt adhesive (HMA), also known as hot glue, is a form of thermoplastic adhesive that is commonly supplied in solid cylindrical sticks of various diameters, designed to be melted in an electric hot glue gun. The gun uses a continuous-duty heating element to melt the plastic glue, which may be pushed through the gun by a mechanical trigger mechanism, or directly by the user. The glue squeezed out of the heated nozzle is initially hot enough to burn and even blister skin. The glue is tacky when hot, and solidifies in a few seconds to one minute. Hot melt adhesives can also be applied by dipping or spraying. In industrial use, hot melt adhesives provide several advantages over solvent-based adhesives. Volatile organic compounds are reduced or eliminated, and the drying or curing step is eliminated. Hot melt adhesives have long shelf life and usually can be disposed of without special precautions. Some of the disadvantages involve thermal load of the substrate, limiting use to substrates not sensitive to higher temperatures, and loss of bond strength at higher temperatures, up to complete melting of the adhesive.
Solvent based adhesives are a mixture of ingredients (typically polymers) dissolved in a solvent. White glue, contact adhesives and rubber cements are members of the drying adhesive family. As the solvent evaporates, the adhesive hardens. Depending on the chemical composition of the adhesive, they will adhere to different materials to greater or lesser degrees.