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Adhesive Bonding in the Aircraft and Automotive Industry

Adhesive bounding of aluminum components in the aircraft and automotive industry are rapidly replacing many conventional methods of joining two parts togheter. Adhesives bonding is a process where a monomer compound is applied in between joints and is chemically allowed to transform into complex long chained polymers which interlock the mating parts by inter-atomic bounding and diffusion of the adhesive into the adherents. In most common uses, bonds are permanent, such as the thermosetting adhesives, and require machining in order to separate the mating parts. In other cases, the adhesive bond might be directly related to the operating temperature, as in thermoplastic adhesives, or may contain natural resins and form an elastic bond such as elastomeric adhesives. Adhesives are mostly limited to shear stress applications due to their relatively low peel and creep capabilities and require far more surface area to form a joint then conventional methods, however, their benefits in weight reduction and enhancing ergonomics, as well as their still fairly inexpensive and ability to function in a wide range of environments, are attractive traits which may influence a designer to select such a process.

Adhesives have been long known as the oldest means of joining two parts togheter. In fact, archeological evidences has been found showing the use of natural resins by early man to fasten arrows and spear heads to shafts (3, 170). They also found there first structural use well over three thousand years ago in the construction of the Tower of Babel  ( 9, 3).  However, it wasn’t until the second World War where great advances where made in structural adhesive bonding which applied to metal to metal structures. Redux, an adhesive conceived in England, was the first ever adhesive used in considerable proportion on the lightest fighter plane of that time, the Mosquito. Following in it’s allied foot steps, the Americans also adopted this process to produce the most effective aircraft of the war, the De Havilland Hornet which used the adhesive to bond the aluminum extrusions to the capped wing spars (4,  41).

Adhesive Bonding in the Aircraft and Automotive Industry

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