Rubber To Metal Bonding
Rubber-to-metal bonding is a term that is generally used to describe the process of establishing an adhesive bond between a metal substrate and an elastomer simultaneously with the cure of the elastomer itself. In other words, the elastomer molding operation and the metal bonding operation are combined in the same process. This, of course, differs from post-vulcanization bonding of rubber, which employs previously cured elastomer and conventional adhesives (epoxies, urethanes, etc.) to make the bond.
The process used to bond rubber to metal depends upon the application, specifically the use of the finished product. Rubber-to-metal bonding is an ideal process for bonding metal and plastic parts including: gears, shafts and rollers in a wide array of sizes and shapes. Additional uses for this process include rubber components bonded to steel, aluminum, brass and plastic.
Usually, the best bond between an elastomeric compound and a substrate is obtained from the rubber-to-metal bonding process. The bond strength is generally greater than the strength of the elastomer, and the failure mode is usually within the elastomer. Durability and resistance to environmental factors such as weather, oil, and chemicals are quite good and sufficient for a wide variety of industrial applications. The rubber-to-metal bonding process is also well suited for most molding operations and eliminates processes and materials that are necessary in post-vulcanization bonding.
Rubber-to-metal bonding is necessary in providing well bonded metal inserts and reinforcements in molded elastomer products. The main field of application for components made with rubber-to-metal bonds is in the automotive industry. Examples of auto products made via this route are engine mounts, shock absorbers, gaskets and shaft seals, v-belts, and reinforced tires. However, building and bridge bearings, vibration dampers, rubber lined rollers, rubber lined tanks and pipe, conveyor belts, and electrical cable are examples of this technology in other industries. In the consumer products area, rubber-to-metal bonding is used to produce appliance mounts, high-pressure hoses, recreational roller-blade bearings, and numerous other products. For most of these applications it is imperative that the rubber be attached to the metal substrate in a reliable manner that provides high strength and durability.
The wide ranging applications of rubber to metal bonding are as diverse as large scale tank linings and automotive engine components, encompassing bridge bearings, rollers, conveyor belting and of course tires. Recent advances in bonding materials and techniques have been driven both by physical demands and environmental pressures.
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