Dow Chemical scientists and Dow Automotive have for some time been pursuing a “holy grail” of bonding. Until now, it has been impossible to bond polymers like polyolefins (low energy substrate) having structural strength, to other materials, without initial process steps of surface primers and other surface modifications (such as flame treatments, to promote actual bonding). Their innovation, Betamate LESA two-part acrylic adhesive, is the first in the industry to accomplish this bonding in a structural application. Dow Automotive holds more than a dozen patents on the methods and materials used to achieve these long-desired properties.
The initial application of Betamate LESA is on the 2006 VW Golf, where the adhesive-bonded front end carrier (produced in Germany) displays significant rewards. Among these are a savings in weight of 1.5 kg, a 2” lower hoodline, double-digit cost savings, an enhanced vehicle crash rating, an integrated air duct for greater design flexibility, easier end of life cycle recycling, and reduced capital needed for tooling and equipment.
CAE design optimization of plastic and metal components created many advantages enabled simply by using the innovative new adhesive. Another OEM in the US has single-sourced DOW Automotive on four new platforms for this product application already.
Betamate LESA overcomes past structural bonding challenges, by providing greater torsion and impact resistance, increased shelf-life, favorable cure time, ease of mixing and dispensing with standard equipment, and in a one to one mix ratio.
This adhesive system can be used for a variety of applications and a variety of chosen materials. Applications include not only front end carriers, but seat backs, instrument panel carriers, floor and roof systems, tailgates, and door modules. Among materials, Betamate LESA works with fluoropolymers (Teflon™), E-coated metallic substrates, glass, thermoset resins, polyolefin thermoplastics, and composites.
In short, this adhesive bonding solution from Dow Automotive will enable automakers greater freedom in selecting structural resins which cost less to design and build, with improved performance. Meantime, VW is showing the way.