Adhesive-Bonding In Metal Fabrication

A large number of metal fabrication specialists use mechanical fasteners and welded joints for metal-to-metal bonding and for bonding metals to composite materials.

However, there are alternative techniques that a metal fabricator can employ in the metal bonding exercise. Adhesive bonding is one among the alternative techniques.

This article discusses various advantages associated with using adhesives for metal bonding as opposed to relying on welded joints. Apprentice metal fabricators should find this information useful.

The Level Of Skill Required

There is a significant difference in the level of skill required for a fabricator who uses adhesives to bond metals and one who uses welded joints.

For example, bonding metals through the welding process will require the fabricator to know how to use various welding tools. These include gas torches, welding guns and plasma cutters among several others. In contrast, using adhesives to bond metals will often only require the fabricator to be familiar with the operation of an adhesive gun.

Also, it takes a greater level of skill for fabrication specialists to avoid common defects (e.g. weld porosity and weld distortion) associated with the welding processes. The application of adhesives will not distort the structure of a fabricated metal.

It would be easier for a first-time fabricator to bond metals using adhesives than it would for him or her to use welded joints.

Distribution Of Stress Load

Joints on fabricated metal will constantly be exposed to varying degrees of stress. These joints should have the capacity to distribute the stress loads placed on them evenly in order to prevent mechanical damage to the fabricated metal.

In this regard, adhesive bonding is often preferred over welding because bonding adhesives are often better at distributing stress loads than welded joints. This is because the adhesive-bonded joint will spread this load over a larger surface area as compared to a welded joint. 

Thus, welded metal pipes (for example) are more likely to suffer mechanical damage than their adhesive-bonded counterparts.

Compatibility With Non-Metallic Substrates

In a large number of cases, welding is used to bond together different pieces of the same metal. It becomes a challenge to weld pieces of different metals because the two metals have different melting points. In as much as this type of bonding is not impossible, it complicates the welding process further. Additionally, welding cannot be used to bond metals to non-metallic substrates such as plastic.

In contrast, bonding dissimilar metals using an adhesive is no more complicated than bonding similar metals. Metal-bonding adhesives are also suitable for use when the metal is to be bonded with a dissimilar substrate.

For more information about the benefits of adhesive bonding, contact a local sheet metal fabrication company.