Technology evolves at an exponential rate, and none more so than in manufacturing industries that require adhesives to seal and coat machinery. The protection that these adhesives and sealants currently provide against liquid and gas infiltration is remarkable.
The thermoplastic resinous compounds found in synthetic adhesives read like a who’s who of chemical superpowers. Chemical wonders such as polyvinyl acetate, polyamides, polypropylene and polyesters are miraculous compounds that are designed to resist the adverse influence of heat, impact and chemicals. While binding two surfaces together, these adhesives also provide a strength and durability of material that can be permanent, such as in the thermosetting application used in the aerospace industry, or flexible, such as in thermoplastic application that allows the adhesive to be manipulated.
Engineers are constantly experimenting with compounds that give industrial adhesives superpowers, making these adhesives able to withstand stress induced by vibration, impact and thermal-cycling. These compounds can be engineered and manipulated to be heat resistant, impact resistant and chemical resistant, and to have exceptional load-bearing qualities.
Structural adhesives with chameleon-like properties, such as Ct1, are currently being developed to bond or soften in reaction to certain chemical and physical stimuli. Elastomers that are used as adhesives are natural rubber, silicone, and neoprene.
Saving the environment
In response to environmental lobbyists, and to comply with environmental regulations, adhesives with volatile compounds are being phased out, with more environmentally-sustainable aqueous emulsions being developed to replace them.
Furthermore, innovative alternative energy-powered vehicles such as hybrid and electric cars are constantly being updated to promote energy efficiency and ensure that consumers use less fossil fuels. With the growing concern about global warming and the melting of the icecaps, car manufacturers are obligated to create fuel-efficient engines.
As adhesives can be applied by automated machinery, the use of liquid adhesives lowers the cost of production, optimises productivity and decreases the cost of manufacturing, thereby improving the profit margin.
Imagine technology that utilises the superpowers of scientifically-improved adhesives that optimise the manufacture of items such as mobile phones, satnavs, hybrid cars, wireless office systems, and household devices such as fridges, vacuum cleaners and washing machines.
The possibilities for future innovations in technology are endless and exciting for emerging industries. These innovations would not be possible without the superpowers of structural adhesives that support the manufacturing process.