Bonding composite to metal with no adhesives

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

Working on the Ariel Hipercar project, Powdertech Surface Science has developed a process, that uses no adhesives, for bonding polypropylene glass fibre composite to aluminium for the vehicle’s monocoque chassis.

The process, called Powderbond – part of an Innovate UK funded project called SOLMAC – requires no surface preparation for the polymer, no activation period and is single stage, placing powder coated aluminium into a mould together with polypropylene and using the standard composite curing cycle.

Simon Saunders, founder of Ariel Motor Company, said: “The process is clean and quick, and the bond strength achieved far surpasses current adhesive-based methods.”

A typical chassis is made up of several hundred separate parts, welded and rivetted together. By creating the aluminium-composite bonds within a mould, the number of parts in the Hipercar chassis has been reduced by over 75%.

“Bonding metals and composites in a single stage gives tremendous freedom in design,” explained Powdertech director, James Grant. “Complex and intricate shapes can be moulded into the composite structure whilst also incorporating high strength metal features.”

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