How is rubber bonded to metal and rubber bonding applications

How is rubber bonded to metal and rubber bonding applications

One of the most frequent requirements of rubber manufacturing is the need to bond rubber to metal. For materials that need the rigidity of metal but the elasticity of rubber, rubber-to-metal bonding is the go-to solution.

Let’s explore how rubber is bonded to metal and the main reasons why.

How is rubber bonded to metal?

For rubber manufacturers, there’s plenty to consider when it comes to rubber-to-metal bonding. Adhesives can fail, rubber might not perform as expected, or parts may fail prematurely and require replacing that can take assets out of service. Understanding the correct method to use is vital to ensure longevity. Let’s explore some key rubber-to-metal bonding methods:

Bonding rubber to metal with glue

This process involves a mould containing inserts made from metal that rubber is bonded to during the process. A heat-activated glue is then sprayed on the metal parts before they’re inserted into the mould, resulting in a bond that can be stronger than the elastomer itself!

Vulcanised bonding

Vulcanised bonding is the process of chemically bonding an elastomer to a prepared metal surface. Vulcanisation is regarded as the best way to create a permanent bond of metal and rubber, and can be much stronger than a glue bond in a lot of applications.

When using the vulcanisation method, the preparation of the materials is key, using chemical etching, blasting the material with grit/sand, and grinding the surface all needing to be considered to create a strong, durable bond. Primers and cements are then added to chemically prepare the surface, before heat and/or pressure is applied to complete the bond.

The use and industry of the product will usually dictate whether the bond is created with glue or vulcanisation; for example, many medical products will use vulcanisation over glue as the glue can cause contamination. Additionally, materials used in high temperature situations will prefer the vulcanisation method as the glue can be affected by the high temperatures.

Metal bonding applications

Metal bonding is a popular technique for many industries, but is typically most common in the electrical, automotive, aerospace, rail, oil & gas and medical industries. Take a look at the types of ways these industries utilise metal bonding:

  • Construction: Vibration reduction, stabilisers, conveyor belts and isolation mounts
  • Medical: O-rings, extrusions, pump compressor isolation and tubing
  • Automotive: Seals, bushings, gaskets, engine mounts, hangers and bumpers
  • Transportation: Pedals, valve seals, suspension and engine parts

There are other popular applications for rubber to metal bonding, for example in the agricultural industry, rubber to metal bonding is used to make ball joints and stabilisers for farming equipment. Metal bonding is also prevalent in automotive, through the bond of seal gaskets with engine mounts. O-rings, which are used in an array of medical equipment, can also be bonded to metal for drug delivery equipment and respiratory pumps.

Additionally, the construction industry uses conveyor belts to speed up the delivery of materials, which will have rubber bonded to metal. Because of the bonding process, parts last longer and therefore keep users and equipment safe, and saves money in the long term.

Why is metal bonding important?

When metal is bonded to rubber, it becomes much more durable, and is important in Noise, Vibration, Harshness (NVH) applications. NVH is the study, assessment, and reduction of the noise, vibration and harshness of a product or material to allow a better user-experience for the end customer. NVH is especially prevalent in the automotive industry to provide a smooth and quiet drive for the customer.

Quality, bespoke, rubber metal bonding

If you are looking for a rubber manufacturer with bespoke capabilities, look no further than Checkmate Flexible Engineering.

At Checkmate, we support a range of bespoke rubber manufacture and design projects for customers in Defence & Aviation, Industrial, Cargo Protection, Check Rescue and Marine & Offshore industries. When you work with Checkmate, you can be confident you will receive excellent customer service, and the highest-quality products.

Get in touch with us today to arrange your next product.