Adhesives are becoming more important for industrial applications. They are used to bond materials such as metals and plastics. Without adhesives, the mix of construction materials used in today's lightweight constructions, for example, in cars, would not be possible. The advantages are clear: for example, lighter weight automobiles reduce fuel consumption.
In the past, the components bonded with such adhesives had to be exposed to heat for several minutes in complex equipment, for example, furnaces or hot presses, to cure the adhesive. That evidently reduced production speeds. Besides, energy requirements were high. However, for non-metal components, those problems are now history.
Nanotechnology ensures reliable adhesion
Oscillating iron oxide particles
The new process is based on MagSilicaŽ-minute particles of iron oxide wrapped in silicon dioxide. This new process centers on the interaction between MagSilicaŽ and a magnetic field. If the adhesive in MagSilicaŽ is exposed to a rapidly alternating magnetic field, the iron oxide particles start to oscillate, a bit like the needle of a compass. This generates heat in the adhesive so it cures rapidly. Since the components no longer have to be heated, the process cuts the need for expensive heating and speeds up production.
But that is not all that MagSilicaŽ can do: in future it will be possible to separate firmly bonded materials again with the same magnetic fields, thus facilitating recycling and repair.
High-performance adhesive tape
Lohmann GmbH & Co KG of Neuwied (Germany) is an international specialist in double-sided adhesive tape. It now uses Evonik's discovery for its high-tech double-sided tape. Including 5 to 15 percent MagSilicaŽ in the adhesive matrix for the DuploCOLLŽ high-performance adhesive tape system causes a huge reduction in curing time. It also increases adhesion by an impressive 300 percent. This adhesive tape system is particularly useful for small components as less surface is required to activate its full adhesive power. That opens up entirely new opportunities for the production of even smaller and more efficient electronic appliances such as hearing aids, cell phones, computers and DVD players.