By Dylan O'Hagan
Peterborough, Ontario -- March 30, 2016 -- Vehicles made with structural adhesives will be lighter, cheaper to produce and more fuel efficient, according to Selamawit Belli during a presentation at Automotive Megatrends in Detroit. Belli is the Structural Adhesives Field Marketing Manager for Dow Automotive.
Belli noted that connecting parts using adhesives can cut down spot welding on vehicles by 50 percent, reducing the mass of vehicles by up to 10 kg, and making them more fuel efficient.Automotive Megatrends: Structural adhesives cheaper, lighter, faster than other joining methods
When 10 percent of the total vehicle mass is removed, the vehicle will have 6 to 8 percent better fuel economy, Belli told the 2016 U.S. Automotive Megatrends summit, as reported by Repairer Driven News. Lighter vehicles also don’t need a large engine, leading to even greater weight savings.
Belli noted that another advantage of structural adhesives is that they allow the joining of two different materials together. Traditional spot welding can join different materials, but it is limited because of safety concerns. Adhesives allow you to join high strength steel, aluminum, magnesium and composites without concerns like heat, corrosion or residual stresses.
“Structural adhesives will make a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of new consumers,” she said. “Considering demographics, disposable incomes and individual, as well as freight mobility needs, the global transportation industry will shift towards emerging countries.”
As reported by Repairer Driven News, Belli estimated that every metre of structural adhesive can cut up to 1.1 kg out of a vehicle. Belli says some European models already use close to 200 metres of adhesive.
“They’ve used structural adhesives for decades,” she said.
Structural adhesives are also a cheaper and faster method than spot welding. According to Volkswagen data Belli presented, you can connect steel to aluminum 50 to 100 percent faster with structural adhesives than any other method.
Using adhesives over welding has other benefits as well. Static stiffness can rise by 20 percent, creating a more responsive vehicle because of the increased surface area. It can also reduce noise from the vehicle, making the drive a bit quieter.
For more on Belli's presentation, please see Repairer Driven News.