Engineering adhesives

The use of adhesives is now a well established practice in manufacturing. New materials and production processes have considerably increased the options available to the engineering designer. Adhesive bonding is a proved cost effective manufacturing method and can be used with confidence. A basic principle is however that joints should be designed with this method of production in mind when the product is in the early stages of development.

The following are some advantages of using adhesives:

(a) Stress concentrations present in bolted, riveted or spot welded joints are avoided.

(b) The distribution of stresses achieved by adhesive bonding permits a reduction in weight and cost. Especially relevant with fragile materials and lightweight structures. Joint strength and fatigue properties are improved.

(c) Production costs are reduced due to the elimination of drilled holes and other machining operations. Labour costs are reduced with automated assembly work.

(d) Structures are generally stiffer despite weight reduction since the bonding covers the whole area of the join. Rivets, screws and spot welds pin the surfaces together only at localized points. Loading may be increased before buckling occurs.

(e) Gap filling properties. Certain adhesives are gap filling, and this makes possible the continuous joining of materials where the gap along the joint is of irregular width.

(f) Delicate or brittle materials such as metal foils or ceramics are readily bonded.

(g) High strength bonds can be formed at room temperature with minimal pressure by using cold-setting adhesives.

(h) The film formed by the adhesive resists corrosion, can form a leak-proof seal and insulate dissimilar metals against electrochemical action.

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