New adhesive-free process for aluminium-to-thermoplastic bonding

Powdertech Surface Science, expert in lightweight material processing, has developed an innovative, time and labour-saving method for joining aluminium to thermoplastics.

Demonstrated within the Ariel Hipercar project, Powdertech has introduced a novel process for bonding polypropylene glass fibre composite to aluminium for the vehicle’s monocoque chassis. No adhesives are used at all. Powdertech’s work was part of SOLMAC, an Innovate UK funded project.  The process, called Powderbond, is single stage, placing powder coated aluminium into a mold together with polypropylene and using the standard composite curing cycle.

Powderbond– introduced in the Ariel Hipercar project 2017


“We are delighted with the result”, said Simon Saunders, founder of Ariel Motor Company.“The process is clean and quick, and the bond strength achieved far surpasses current adhesive-based methods”. This is a lean manufacturing process with no surface preparation necessary for the polymer, no activation period and an energy saving short curing cycle. A typical chassis is made up of several hundred separate parts, welded and rivetted together. By creating the aluminium-composite bonds within a mold, the number of parts in the Hipercar chassis is reduced by over seventy five percent.

“Bonding metals and composites in a single stage gives tremendous freedom in design” said James Grant, Powdertech Director. “Complex and intricate shapes can be moulded into the composite structure whilst also incorporating high strength metal features.  Powderbond makes it possible, today, to use the best possible lightweight materials for the job, exactly where they are needed. We would be delighted to discuss the wide-ranging implications of adhesive-free Powderbond with anyone who is joining aluminium to thermoplastic materials.”J

James Grant of Powdertech Surface Science is one of the presenters at Advanced Aluminium Engineering For The Automotive Industry in Birmingham on November 21-22


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