Bonding Rubber to Metal
Bonding rubber to metal is a common practice in manufacturing. The bonded rubber created through this process is used for noise and vibration isolation in automotive and engineering applications, among a variety of other applications in other industries as well.
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Rubber and metal have very different physical characteristics. When their strengths are united through bonding rubber to metal, the combination results in a product that is strong and rigid yet capable of sealing and absorbing shock. The process of rubber to metal bonding involves spraying the bonding agents onto the metal substrate and placing this in a mold where uncured rubber is poured and left to dry. More difficult than it seems, when the rubber has dried the bonded part is done. The molding section requires large amounts of patience because the mold is often just a little bit bigger than the metal part, and must be carefully stabilized while the molten rubber is added. For a part to be properly bonded, it must be completely coated, which means precise placement within the mold and patience as it fills. Certain applications are more difficult to produce than others. For example, small pieces like gears, gaskets and bearings would be easier to manage than heavy and bulky parts such as conveyor belts, industrial pipes and reinforced tires.
The three essential elements involved in this process are rubber, a bonding agent and the metal substrate. Rubber used for rubber products may be natural or synthetic. Natural rubber is produced from latex pulled from a variety of plants, the most well known being the Para rubber tree. Synthetic rubbers are basically elastomers that are highly flexible but strong as well; in other words, they exhibit the physical characteristics of natural rubber. Any synthetic rubber or natural rubber can be used for bonded rubber products, and it is also not limited to rubber bonded to metal combinations; rubber can also be bonded to glass or fabric. When bonded to metal, the options are limitless. Aluminum and steel are two of the most popular metallic substances used for rubber bonding because both are incredibly strong and durable, while aluminum has the additional benefits of being cheaper and lighter in weight. The adhesives used vary on the rubber and metal combinations, although in general water-based adhesives are used because of their environmentally friendly attributes. Bonding rubber to metal can increase both comfort and safety. The products produced by this process are used in many different manufacturing applications, particularly in the automotive industry.