These adhesives behave in a manner similar to welding. A solvent is introduced at the interface between two materials (typically plastics) where it causes the materials to “melt” (become somewhat liquid). These semi-liquids flow together at the molecular level (diffuse together) and when the solvent ultimately evaporates the materials solidify into a homogeneous mass.
This method is typical of that used to join plastics like acrylic (Poly Methyl Methacrylate (“PMMA”) commonly known as Plexiglass or Lucite, by introducing a solvent such as methylene chloride at the interface.
Another example is the joining of PVC plumbing parts using a solvent such as toluene or tetrahydrofuran. Here the adhesive is comprised of PVC monomers mixed with a plasticizer such as di-octyl pthalate (“DOP”) and dissolved in a toluene carrier solvent.
Yet another example is the case of “model airplane glue” and its use on polystyrene parts. Here the active solvent is usually Xylene which also carries with it styrene monomers. The presence of these monomers gives the adhesive its gap filling ability as it hardens into a resinous mass.