You’ve been staring back and forth between a metal and rubber surface, desperately trying to figure out the best way to stick them together.
Just as you’re breaking out the gluestick, you recall hearing that adhesive tapes are an excellent solution for dissimilar adhesive bonds. Having worked with many double sided adhesives in the past, Strouse’s engineering team is confident in helping design rubber-to-metal adhesive parts.
Are you searching for the best adhesive tape for rubber to metal applications? Stick around to learn more about factors to consider when building a strong and durable design.
What’s Unique About Bonding Rubber and Metal?
Rubber and metal have different surface energies, affecting the types and strength of the joining materials used.
Surface energies are a crucial part of choosing the right material for your product.
The surface energy of your application is highly dependent on your substrates. For instance, common metal treatments like powder coating have low surface energy and require adhesives designed for LSE.
Metal often has a high surface energy, which enables adhesives to stick more easily. However, rubber surfaces have a lower surface energy, meaning they have different adhesive needs.
Differential Double Sided Tape
So, what’s the best way to bond dissimilar surfaces? You’ll definitely want to consider using differential double sided tape.
Differential tape uses two types of adhesives on either side of a carrier to attach substrates. They are commonly used to form a permanent bond on one side and a temporary bond on the other.
Unfortunately, differential adhesives are more expensive than regular tape because they’re customized for the sake of the application. But despite the higher cost, differentials allow you to create a powerful bond between both materials to join them together.
Using Foam Tapes for Rubber to Metal Bonding
Double sided foam tape is an everyday staple of heavy duty bonding applications due to its adhesive strength and conformability. Foam tapes are also ideal for sealing, which is relevant to many rubber-to-metal applications.
It’s worth noting that certain foams, like silicone or EPDM, are challenging to adhere to due to their low surface energies. While foam materials can be treated to overcome low surface energy, you’ll want to pursue careful sourcing and testing of materials for your application.
Another factor to keep in mind when choosing materials is the pattern and texture of your foam. While textures generally increase the foam’s surface area, they also result in a decreased surface area for adhesion.
For all intents and purposes, tapes are flat. If you exclude significantly high adhesive mass or flow characteristics, the adhesive tape will only contact the “high points” of a texture or pattern, resulting in lower adhesion.
FOAM TAPE OPTIONS
Depending on the application, there are many different types of foam tapes you might consider for a rubber-to-metal application:
Certain foams like urethane are lightweight in density, and can often be found in the form of high-strength bonding solutions to replace mechanical fasteners like bolts or screws.
Before you choose a foam tape, however, make sure you inspect not only the attachment capabilities of the product, but also factors such as thickness to determine its manufacturability. When in doubt, you can always turn to an adhesive converter for their design evaluation.
Like any other adhesive product, the primary drivers for rubber-to-metal adhesive tape selection are the substrates and the application.
Firstly, certain applications require that their adhesives meet specific standards or certifications, which vary based on the industry. For rubber-to-metal applications, the primary industries that should be on the lookout for needing verification are medical, automotive, and electronic.
Secondly, pay attention to which stresses are applied and how they apply to the application once it’s in use. Hanging stress from a mounting adhesive will likely function differently and require more holding power than an internal device attachment.
Lastly, you’ll want to know the intended environment, including the required temperature range and chemical resistance. Understanding the environment of the adhesive will help you decide whether you need to account for sealing or waterproofing.
Application is essential to consider during tape selection, and although you might be wondering about the purpose of telling your manufacturer or converter, rest assured it is crucial information for them based on the role of application in product design.
Rubber-Metal Adhesive Projects
There's a wide range of material variability within the scope of projects that use rubber-to-metal bonding applications. For example, rubber-to-metal components inside medical devices won’t require the same level of heat resistance as those attaching car trim.
The tape you choose is based on your desired adhesive strength and its placement environment.
Instead of spending more time and money on adjustments later on, you’ll want a rubber-to-metal tape that can bond your substrates precisely with an easy application.
Finding the right adhesive for your project can be lengthy, but seeking design and material advice from a converter will decrease your chances of making an error and increase the speed and efficiency of your product development. Consider scheduling a flexible material consultation to discuss your project and the best tape options.
Want to learn more about adhesive bonding? Gain a fuller picture when you check out our Learning Center.