Materials, modes and methodologies for advanced engineering

Rebecca Wilmot
Adhesive Selection and Use, Tips
November 30, 2010

Advanced adhesive materials are in demand to fill the need for improved, cheap, and better methods in modern engineering and materials science. New materials are coming on the market regularly, and to design engineers, these are always interesting developments. That said, all engineers tend to believe in wonder products after they’ve seen some proof.

In the questioning world of professional engineering, nothing is simply accepted at face value. Questions will be pointed and practical and will relate to functional issues across a spectrum of relevant points, from machining materials to stress and other highly important matters.

There’s also some market resistance. An “advanced” product might not fit working techniques and preferred standards. For example, joining heterogeneous materials involves some unavoidable issues:

  1. Compatible joining methods and characteristics
  2. Stress focus and issues with component substrates;
  3. Composites may not respond well to drilling and possible damage to fibers, reducing strength;
  4. Thermal issues and contraction rates of heterogeneous materials may make types of application inappropriate ;
  5. Methodology issues– A classic engineering situation, finding solutions and cost savings.

The short answer in any practical context is adhesives. Most motorists don’t know their cars are held together with glue. As a matter of fact, this is the best way of joining advanced materials. The record-breaking Thrust SSC car used high-quality adhesives within the engine and the major structures. Ironically, some adhesives are made specifically to resemble welding or brazing for no other reason but to look “right” to consumers. Actually, many familiar objects like phones and razors are constructed with adhesives.

Adhesive Advantages

There are advantages in using adhesives:

  • Improved stress management between elements;
  • Better, smoother finishes are easy to produce;
  • The weight factor is often a key issue in mechanical situations;
  • Highly manageable strength, cure rate, and customized application methods to streamline and tailor production.

Cost benefits include a faster production process and reduced reworking requirements.

Surface Preparation

For best and dependable bonding, some substrates need surface preparation. Substances like polypropylene and polyethylene have low surface energy. These materials don’t bond easily. It is possible to treat them with flame, corona, and other methods, but those are costly options. Consider Permabonds’ line of polyolefin bonders. They form strong bonds with no need for primer.

Aluminum alloys are another instance of a need for preparation for adhesives. Aluminium is a particularly popular, high-performance material, and joining needs to be efficient and reliable. Removal of the oxidized surface layer on non-anodized surfaces before bonding is necessary. There are several methods, including abrasion, grit-blasting, or acid etch methods are the simple options.

More Advancements

Adhesive research remains as progressive and forward-looking as the advances in engineering materials. Regulations such as the Vehicle End of Life Directive have affected material usage in the auto industry, which has, in turn, created a demand for top-quality adhesives able to deal with these materials, notably the famous “Green” PVC and the new self-reinforced polypropylene (SrPP). With these new options come new challenges. The demand now is for even more advanced adhesives to bond the new materials. New RoHS and WEEE requirements mean adhesives must be statutorily compliant. Other approvals frequently required include potable water, gas, oxygen, and medically compatible adhesives.

For more information on advanced adhesive materials or need more information about adhesives and benefits for your business, please contact Permabond (tel. 0800 975 9800 or (732-868-1372 Americas) e-mail or

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