Tips on Gluing Aluminium

Gluing and sealing aluminium is a standard industrial practice all over Ireland. But like gluing all metals, there are several things to be aware of. Small aspects such as the cleanliness of the surface being glued and the pressure applied to the contact points can help to provide strength to a joint that it might not otherwise have. The type of adhesive also can make a huge difference in the type of bond that is established with the aluminum. Thinking about the amount of stress that will be applied to the glued area can be vital before starting to perform any type of gluing!

The overall design that requires gluing aluminum should be considered. The area of contact where the gluing will occur should be flat and have enough surface area to allow enough of the adhesive to create the bond. It is vitally important that excessive pressure is not applied to the glued parts as this can lead to a starved joint. In order to prevent this, our T44 Structural Tape has become the standard product for maintaining a gap between the surfaces being glued. This tape has a thickness of 0.4 mm & ensures that a starved joint will not occur.

Successfully gluing aluminum begins by preparing the surface. This step is sometimes skipped, but it can make a massive difference in the end. The surface needs to be absolutely clean and free from any dirt, debris or oils. For sucessfully removing contamination from aluminium, we manufacture a range of formulated solvents which are very effective cleaners. Depending on the level of surface contamination, our X35T160 or T559  products are excellent degreasers. Once cleaned, it is important to understand that an aluminum surface oxidizes within one hour after having contact with air, creating a type of skin on the surface that is not good for adhesives. This means that the surface to be glued needs to be sanded until the non-oxidized aluminum is revealed. We always recommend, where possible, the bond should be made within one hour after surface preparation in order to prevent the oxidization from occurring again. We typically suggest P180 abrasive paper for this. A second solvent wipe is suggested after the abrasion process.

In certain applications, as an example gluing aluminium in the truck or roofing sector, the use of a surface primer is typically suggested. We manufacture several adhesion primers and other surface treatment agents. These products are typcially applied by brush and ensure excellent bonds.

When selecting the adhesive, consideration should be given to the size of the pieces being bonded & the ultimate performance requirements of the bonded parts. We have many different adhesives for gluing and sealing parts made with aluminium. These include epoxy and strutural methacrylates, structural tapes, polychloroprene and polyurethane. Each adhesive has its optimum application arena and we are always pleased to offer the best advice available.

Contact the Glue Guru with your aluminium gluing question.