Pratley Putty is an extremely strong adhesive made in South Africa – and sold across the entire world.
It was invented by George Pratley in 1948 while he was trying to develop a glue strong enough to hold components inside an electrical box.
The official policy statement from Pratley Putty says that:
“The performance of our products must exceed all other on the World Market’.
Because of the efficiency of Pratley Putty, it boasts the status of being the only South African product taken to the Moon: due to its strength and moldable nature, NASA utilised it in their space programs throughout the 60s.
In terms of endorsements, Pratley Putty are justifiably proud to have the trust of the organisation which first sent a man to the moon.
Thankfully, Pratley Putty also has terrestrial uses back here on Earth – and plenty of them. In this article, Sparks will tell you more about this ground-breaking product.
What exactly is Pratley Putty?
The Original Pratley Putty was the first of its kind when it was created in 1948. It is an ‘epoxy’ putty, which refers to a group of substances that harden at room temperature and are used as space-filling adhesives.
They are stored in special packaging until use, and exist in two separate clay-like forms until they are ‘activated’. In kneading the two clay forms together an ‘exothermic’ reaction is caused, which releases high levels of heat in its surrounding environment.
The clays contain ‘epoxides’ and kneading them together is a catalyst for this reaction. The end result will be an extremely strong bonding material. However, it takes a while for the putty to realise it’s full tensile strength.
This is what makes it so useful for practical ‘at home’ purposes – it is malleable until it is fully set. Once the putty sets or ‘cures, it is described as being as hard as steel (though not quite literally). This, of course, explains why it was the adhesive chosen for the first expedition to the moon.
Helping Apollo 11 put a man onto the moon was definitely a high point for Pratley Putty. However, it has been involved in many large-scale projects since then. For instance, it was used to stop cracking in one of the main supports for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
It was also used to repair holes in two sunken ships off the coast of South Africa. Once the repairs had been made, these ships were ultimately raised and set sail in the high seas again. Such is the power of Pratley Putty!
Epoxy putty such as Pratley Putty are mainly used for filling in gaps in rigid structures and for molding into structural parts. The putty is both hand moldable and water-soluble.
Suggested uses of Pratley Putty in a domestic setting
George Pratley had his own ‘unique’ take on how to use his innovative product. During the 60s, he used it to make a robot named Humphrey, which he built from metal waste.
He glued the robot parts together with his own invention, according to Mark Bell, the former Group Sales Manager of Pratley.
However, there are more conventional uses of the putty which may prove highly useful for your home setting.
- You could repair the cracked floor of your swimming pool with Pratley Putty.
- Damaged metal tanks or gutters can easily be repaired.
- Emergency repairs to any metal work.
- Perfect for repairing any cement garden features or accessories.
- Can be used on glass, and other applications, where the adhesive should not be clearly visible.
- Mending chipped and broken wash basins.
- Sealing metal petrol tanks and fuel lines.
- Fixing broken electrical insulators.
Properties of Pratley Putty
As mentioned previously, Pratley putty is an ‘epoxy’ substance. We will explain here what this means in terms of its properties.
- Pratley Putty is completely water-soluble, meaning it can dissolve and then set in water. This makes it ideal for underwater use.
- It is generally considered useful for the purposes of filling, sealing, building or bonding almost any rigid materials.
- Convenience is also in the name of the game for Pratley Putty. It can be smoothed over with a wet hand or a spatula.
- What’s more, it can be filed, sawed, drilled or machined with ease.
- It will set to an ivory-white colour.
- The putty has an excellent ‘shelf-life’ as long as it is contained in its packaging.
- It is non-flammable.
The mixing and application process explained
Before you get to applying Pratley Putty, you’ll want to read these instructions first. Remember that once the putty sets, it if fairly immovable, so make sure you get the application right on the first try.
The first step is to properly prepare the surface you plan to work on.
- The surfaces must be free from loose oil, dirt, paint or grease. This will drastically help with adhesion to smooth surfaces.
- Surfaces should be cleaned with the chemical ‘acetone’, which is a fantastic solvent and great for the purpose of cleansing.
- Wipe in one direction to remove the majority of contaminants.
Next, you can get the putty out and start mixing:
- Cut two equally sized pieces of the putty with a sharp knife.
- Remove the two pieces of putty and roll them together into the shape of a sausage.
- Then roll the sausage-shaped putty into a round ball.
- Take the mixed ball and then wipe and knead it into the application’s surface. This entire process is called ‘wetting’.
- Apply the putty by working it into place and add further layers as necessary.
- Remove any excess putty and wipe the surrounding areas with a wet cloth.
- Smooth the repair by wiping it down with a wet finger.
The mixture will start to gel within 50 minutes after you combine it. It will set hard after 4 hours and then reach full strength after 24 hours.
Different versions of Pratley Putty
We here at Sparks sell three separate versions of this pioneering product. They are: High Strength, ‘Exceptionally’ High-Strength and Steel Colour varieties.
The High-Strength version comes in a standard amount of 125 grams. It is useful for all types of mechanical repairs and even underwater work, and is a bargain at under £4 + VAT.
The Exceptionally High Strength version comes in at under £5 + VAT for the same amount – 125 grams. It has the same properties as the High Strength version, except that it sets much faster. It will reach full strength in 6 hours, as opposed to 24.
The Steel colour version is also exceptionally high strength. In fact, it will reach maximum strength after only 5 hours. The steel colour (as opposed to the standard white colour) means that it will blend onto metal works in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Whichever type of Pratley Putty you use, you can rest assured that the company is striving to be the best in the world in the field of adhesion. You will be safe putting your faith in the same company that NASA entrusted to help get the first men to the moon.