Customer preference and government regulations on vehicle emissions are driving the demand to develop composite materials in the automotive industry. On-going cost reductions in the manufacture of these materials have further increased their usage. Alongside these improvements, there have been advances in the development of composite bonding adhesives. This article will explore why the requirement for composite materials is growing.
According to a representative at the Adhesives and Sealant Council there is huge potential for strong growth of composite materials in the automotive industry. This would signal a similar growth in the adhesive and sealant market to meet the demand.
What are the advantages of these materials over the more traditional steel and aluminium parts?
These can be summarised as follows:
Lower Weight Vehicles
Composite parts can be 25% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminium. Cost savings can be made with installation, handling and, most importantly, fuel consumption.
When composite parts bonded with adhesives are introduced, cars become quieter compared with the use of metal components.
Extended Life for Cars
Composite parts are more resistant to rain and salt spray, resulting in reduced maintenance and repairs. They have greater resilience by being able to reform into their original shape without significant damage. They are good insulators and do not become brittle in colder temperatures. Composite materials undergo weld bonding which prolongs the life of many parts compared to spot welding.
Greater design options are available without loss in performance or strength.
Fibre-reinforced composites have low electrical conductivity and are thus an excellent option to cover electrical components.
Composites and metal bonding adhesives such as those available at ct1ltd.com/en/metal-to-metal-adhesive.html have a similar polymeric make-up, and are therefore widely compatible. Durability has also improved with the adhesives now available because stress is more widely distributed, thus avoiding the stress concentration and weak spots found with older materials.
The introduction of lighter, quieter cars with more efficient fuel emissions has great benefits for the car industry. These include an improvement in the design and performance, ultimately leading to a decrease in the end user cost and reduced environmental impact. It is anticipated that the development of adhesives will become the enabling technology for the use of composite materials in the automotive industry.