Question: What advantages do I have if I choose an adhesive that has MIL-SPEC approval?
Answer: The U.S. Defense Standards, often called Military Standard (MIL-STD) or Military Specification (MIL-SPEC), are used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense. Defense standards are also used by other non-defense government organizations, technical organizations and industry. They were the earliest standards developed for many materials and have been important for over 100 years.
These standards have become archaic in certain industries, but are still quite important in others. For example, many aircraft companies now have their own standards, and automotive companies have products and processes certified to Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards. ASTM International also has many standards for adhesives and sealants.
I work in certain industries, such as sealants for castings, where these military standards are still widely accepted and required. If you buy an adhesive or sealant that has MIL-SPEC approval, it means that the supplier has had its product and production process evaluated and that the product has passed certain performance specifications. Approved products appear on the approved products list (APL), and manufacturers are asked annually to certify that their products have not been changed. I can tell from personal experience that it takes a long time and considerable effort to get such a standard; companies that do so are committed to maintain performance and quality standards.
Any views or opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent those of ASI, its staff, Editorial Advisory Board or BNP Media.