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article imageMulti-material automotive market gets superglue breakthrough

By Karen Graham     Aug 23, 2017 in Technology
Traverse City - Automotive engineers and designers say the future lies in multi-material vehicles - High-strength steel, carbon fiber, aluminum, and advanced plastics. However, joining these different materials together during production has always been a problem.
There has been a lot happening in the automotive industry lately, in vehicle design, engineering, and production innovations, to name just a few. But the biggest advancements are in the types of materials being used.
As hybrid and all-electric vehicles become more common on the road, there is an increasing need for automotive parts that are light-weight, yet durable, and that's where multi-material innovation is growing. However, at the production end, finding an adhesive that bonds these different materials on the assembly line has been a problem.
Researchers at Michigan State University, supported by the American Chemistry Council's automotive group, have made a breakthrough in the quest to find an automotive "super glue" capable of bonding multiple materials together, according to Sandra McClelland, a member of the council and sales development manager for Solvay Specialty Polymers.
Solvay, a multi-specialty chemical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium is promoting the new adhesive that adapts to different surface properties and works at different material temperatures. McClelland says the group believes the new adhesive will also allow mixed material auto parts to be cleanly separated at the end of a vehicle's life, another growing concern as manufacturers adopt circular economy practices.
"The vehicles of today and tomorrow will be manufactured with a combination of energy-saving materials," McClelland said this month during the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars held in Michigan, reports Automotive News. "Multimaterial solutions are and will provide OEMs and consumers with the best possible choices for performance, safety, aesthetics, and value. All materials are in play."
The adhesive is a type of enhanced thermoplastic with tiny bits of small magnetic particles capable of bonding different types of plastics, metals or even various combinations of materials without the use of rivets or connectors. Researchers have found the bond is easily reversed, making the recycling processes at the end of the products life relatively easy.
It may be a few years before the product is available. Research in the new glue is still in the laboratory testing phase, but early results are very promising.
More about Superglue, Automotive, multimaterial, solvay, production cycle