Next Generation Structural Adhesives

Using structural adhesives for optimized vehicle body-in-white design and development

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How to Optimize Material Solutions for Next Generation Structural Bonding

Historically, the formulation and application of structural adhesives in the automotive industry has involved trade-offs. Adding toughening agents to improve fracture toughness and impact resistance, for example, can reduce adhesive strength and stiffness. Using heat during fixturing and curing may be needed to achieve the best results – but at the same time can contribute to bond line read-through issues.                                           

The end goal is to achieve all desired uncured and cured properties in one single formulation without the need to compromise.

In order to get there, an interdisciplinary approach must be taken that optimizes chemistry development and application in three key areas, including:

  1. Material interaction
  2. Processing capabilities
  3. Engineering design

Material Interaction

Achieving proper adhesion across multiple substrates in varying conditions is a necessity in today’s multi-material age. This requires adhesives to accommodate significant differences in the materials being used — including varying rates of thermal expansion and stress durability across a wide temperature range. Extensive testing demonstrates Henkel’s ability to deliver durable adhesives across a variety of metal types with broad adhesion and impact resistance as low as negative 40 degrees Celsius.

Processing Capabilities

Optimizing processing capabilities is all about achieving a delicate balance in the formulation. For example, it’s essential the structural adhesive is wash-off resistant for subsequent processing in the paint shop; however, it’s important not to significantly increase viscosity to ensure pumpability is not impacted. At the same time, the right degree of viscosity is essential to prevent material slide or sag later in the production cycle.

Additional considerations in this stage include humidity resistance, weldability and cure kinetics.

Engineering Design

The rise of vehicle electronics and the shift to electric vehicles means speed and agility is more important than ever before in the automotive industry. And being fast is just important as being accurate. Engineering modeling and simulation means we can accelerate our product development time, minimize the number of experiments needed and ensure our products meet or exceed long-term requirements — reducing or eliminating the need for costly future re-work.

We invite you to learn more during our upcoming presentation at the 2020 Joining in Car Body Conference, taking place at 2:15 p.m, Feb. 19.

Or let us know if you’d like to arrange a one-on-one meeting to learn more.

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