Adhesives, Sealants, and the Automotive Industry

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The global automotive industry is constantly coming up with new technological innovations to satisfy the highly demanding requirements of consumers. This situation has induced the development of technologically advanced sealants, adhesives and other related materials used in car and truck manufacturing. Such products include gasket sealants, pressure sensitive tapes and many more.

In pursuit of the best types of adhesives and sealants, manufacturers are coming up with products that offer improved resistance to vibrations, shock, harsh chemicals, and impact. They are also improving the thermal stability and durability of adhesives and sealants. There are different applications for these materials ranging from bonding separate structures to climate control to the assembly of electronic components and brake/chassis applications.

What Adhesives and Sealants Are In The Automotive Industry?

In basic terms, adhesives are the fluid substances that are used in joining wood, steel, plastic and other solid materials together. Sealants, on the other hand, can either be fluid or thins solid and flexible materials that are used to seal or completely cover any surface so that leaking of fluid or gas will be prevented.

Adhesives and sealants are so versatile that they have been extensively applied in various forms in the automotive industry. Still, there are new applications that are being developed as cars and truck makers are demanding the production of better and higher performance products that can bond dissimilar materials so that they will function as one single unit.

Sealants are widely used because of their capacity to fill gaps and voids, to be insoluble, to resist corrosion and to be flexible in avoiding relative movement of substrates. Compared to adhesives, they have lower strength, but they are more flexible. The demand for insulation, lamination, impenetrable flooring, coating, durable facades and other end-user requirements have induced increased production of high quality sealants and adhesives.

What Is The Basic Use of Adhesives and Sealants In The Automotive Industry?

Car and truck manufacturers are using adhesives and sealants to bond and seal their vehicles’ interiors, exteriors, under the hood, under chassis and many other related applications. In terms of applications, four common categories for applications of adhesives and sealants include:

  • interior applications
  • exterior applications
  • under the hood applications
  • other applications

At the moment, exterior application is the category that generates most of the demand for adhesives and sealants. It is closely followed by interior applications.

How Important Are Adhesives and Sealants In The Automotive Industry?

As far as the global automotive industry is concerned, the market for adhesives and coatings are the two fastest growing items. The increasing demand for fuel efficiency by means of reducing the vehicle weight resulted in increasing the demand and the drive to improve the quality of adhesives and sealants used by the automotive industry.

What Are The Different Types Of Adhesives and Sealants?

There are two basic types of adhesives and sealants used in the automotive industry.

Epoxy

Most major car and truck manufacturers in the world use epoxy because it offers a very strong and durable bond for different kinds of dissimilar materials. Epoxy is a general term that is used to define its key element, Epichlorohydrin, which is a compound that produces a hard layer upon complete curing. This makes it highly resistant to cold or high temperatures, humidity and moisture.

Anaerobic

Anaerobic adhesives contain monomer elements. They are specifically designed to provide strong bonding catalyst for hard metals. Anaerobic adhesives and sealants are used to tighten and seal fasteners and gaskets. They are also used to bond electrical components. This type of adhesive is highly resistant to chemical substances such as fuels, oils and hydraulic fuels.

Adhesives and sealants are further categorized into different types. They can be acrylic-based, epoxy-based, urethane-based and others. The acrylic-based types are also differentiated into elastomer-based, silicone-based, urethane-based and others.

How Big Is The Market for Adhesives and Sealants?

In 2016, the global market size of adhesives and sealants has reached an approximate total of 1,353.4 kilo tons.

The adhesives and sealants that are being used today by car and truck manufacturers are mainly composed of synthetic materials. Their raw material components include propylene, ethylene, amine-based resins, epoxide resins, polyester resins, acrylics, vinyl acetate monomer and many others. 

What Is The Future of Adhesive and Sealants?

The key elements that are driving the adhesives and sealants industry are weight reduction and miniaturization. Makers of these products are increasingly introducing and innovating new products specially injected with effective capabilities. There are new opportunities that they are now facing that will help them develop adhesives and sealants that are fast curing and which are based on renewable sources.

New types of sealants are also being developed based in innovative technologies and renewable feedstock.  Multipurpose sealants and anchoring are new technologies that are being used to make waterproof sealants that are highly adaptable in the automotive industry.

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