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Making foam stick.

Foam materials made from rubber and plastics are said to serve as indispensable components in everything from advanced medical and aerospace applications to everyday consumer items. A wide variety of foam materials has been developed that are said to effectively and reliably serve many different functions, including sealing, temperature insulation, sound attenuation, vibration damping and shock absorption.

However, when foam products fail, it may not be because of a deficiency of the foam material, but because of problems with the adhesive system. All too frequently, adhesives do not stand up to the rigors of the end use application, or they break down during transport and storage, prior to the foam component being finally affixed, according to the company. Inadequate adhesive systems are also said to cause problems during the fabrication and conversion of foam products, resulting in product damage and waste, and in manufacturing process disruptions.

Engineering a reliable adhesive system is not easy, according to the company. A foam component is die cut from a sheet that must lay flat and remain in place while being transported a thousand miles in a hot, humid truck. Then the release liner on the foam component must remain intact until it is removed from the foam part and the part affixed to a car door, where it must resist grease, solvents and UV light, as well as the stress of the door being slammed hundreds of times at 40[degrees] below zero.

Typically, production engineers and product designers will select loam materials and then subsequently seek an adhesive system that works with the chosen material. Foam manufacturers may recommend a type of adhesive for each of their products, but unfortunately, in practice there are no "one size fits all" solutions that will work for all applications of a particular foam material, according to the company.

Many factors must be considered when engineering an adhesive system, including the chemical composition and mechanical properties of the foam (s) and all other substrates that will be bonded. The adhesive system is designed to meet the particular performance requirements and environmental conditions of the end-use application.

This company has conducted research and created a matrix rating the performance of over 20 different formulations of rubber, acrylic and hybrid adhesives, with film, paper and transfer carrier systems, against commercially available foam products, ranging from natural rubber and polychloroprene, to ester urethane and vinyl nitrile.

Adchem

www.adchem.com
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Title Annotation:Case Studies
Publication:Rubber World
Date:Dec 22, 2006
Words:401
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