Aerospace Adhesives: Special Conditions, Extraordinary Performance |

Aerospace is an industry that demands a lot from its vehicles: the peak performance is expected in all environments at all times – the vehicles must function perfectly, even at extreme temperatures and air pressures. That also means that all supporting materials and tools used in the aerospace industry must perform at the highest standards as well. Aerospace adhesives are no different!Aerospace adhesives are expected to meet the newest, most advanced technical specifications, as well as comply with though environmental and security criteria. The demand for better performance has always been the driving force behind the development of the newest aerospace adhesives, and the developments may range from improved toughness to some special features, such as flame retardancy and smoke toxicity.Modern aerospace cannot be imagined without the use of modern adhesives: they are widely used in both vehicle construction and maintenance, including pipes, panels, fixtures and tools. Aerospace adhesives are used for bonding, potting, filling, and repairs. It is plain to see why is that so. The use of adhesives allows for a low weight, fatigue resistant, and aerodynamic method of assembly. Furthermore, adhesive bonding is less labor and cost intensive.There are companies which produce different kinds of adhesives that function to different specifications, depending on where they are going to be used. Different formulations allow for flexibility in application, and they can also be custom formulated in order to assist with optimal application. There are special formulations available for transducer seals, fuel assemblies, metal and fiber composites, electronic assemblies, antennas, optical fibers and sensors.The most widely used adhesives in the aerospace industry are structural adhesives. There is a distinction being made between primary and secondary structural applications in the aerospace industry, but structural adhesives are used in both applications.The superiority of adhesives over mechanical fasteners (bolts, screws) is plain to see in a situation where weight factors are as important as they undoubtedly are in the aerospace industry. Aerospace adhesives are used to achieve a certain design or a function. Because the use of adhesives allows for a smoother shape, they are beneficial for aerodynamics. Additionally, adhesives can bond even the thinnest, most fragile materials – which are frequently used in aerospace designs.Aerospace adhesives cannot be cured using a method which may adversely affect other materials. There are alternative cure technologies being developed, such as UV, e-beam, and dual cure concepts, in an effort to expedite curing and reduce flow times.