The use of composite materials is soaring, creating new opportunities for the adhesives used to hold composite products together.
In aircraft and many other products that have turned to composites, eliminating the weight of screws, bolts and rivets is nearly as important as the weight decreases over metal.
However, composites have some negative aspects metals don't have, such as moisture absorption. "Composites can absorb 2-3 percent of their weight in moisture, so adhesives have to reduce the impact of moisture," says Charles Watkins, marketing manager for 3M Aerospace and Aircraft Maintenance Department.
Adhesives developed for composites often have to mate with metals, which aren't disappearing. Regardless of the type of bonding, longer lifetimes are a boon for manufacturers. Adhesive manufacturers are responding with materials that last far longer without special storage requirements, reducing waste.
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