How To Glue Stainless Steel.
Welding or gluing metal?
It has been a busy week for us. An unusual week in that every day, we had an enquiry relating to gluing steel. All enquiries were from engineering companies who hitherto, had been using mechanical fixings.
Two of the companies were actually surprised to learn that stainless steel can be glued! Decades ago, the option of gluing steel may have sounded like fantasy, however today, we have many customers who successfully glue both stainless and mild steel. So why would you want to glue steel? Well traditional joining techniques included many types of welding procedures. The issue here is twofold, heat may distort the components and post welding clean-up is time consuming.
Of course, gluing steel may not be the optimum way of joining, and our Materials Engineer will always be happy to provide you with the optimum advice.
As with all other gluing jobs, the surfaces to be glued should be clean and dry. This is a prerequisite. Next, using one of our degreasing agents, the bonding area should be solvent wiped. For degreasing steel, we suggest the use of our DP525 or DP526. The choice depends on you. DP525 is a fast evaporating cleaner and ideal for small areas. DP526, apart from being fully biodegradable, evaporates more slowly and the choice for long joints.
After this step, the steel may be abraded. Although not always required, some surface abrasion will increase the durability of the bond. If the surface is abraded, solvent wipe once more to remove any debris.
We have an exceptionally wide range of glues for steel. The choice depends on a range of factors, including the fatigue, toughness and shear strength required. Again, our laboratory will always you as to the optimum glue for your specific projects.
The gluing process itself is quite straightforward. Apply the glue to one of the parts, and place the second part onto the wet glue. It is important to ensure that a gap of at 0.5 mm remains between the bonding surfaces. This may be achieved through the use of shims. If the bonded parts will not be clamped, the use of shims can be dispensed with. The use of clamps is generally suggested as it spreads the bead of glue, thus ensuring good surface contact between the parts.
The clamps should be left in place for the specific fixture time, which may be found in the technical data sheet for the specific glue. During the fixture time, the bonded parts should not be disturbed. After the fixture time, the parts may be unclamped and left aside for the glue to fully cure, again the cure time will be found on the product technical data sheet.
And there you have it. Gluing doesn’t have to be complicated, and using our metal glues and the best gluing advice available, you may not weld ever again!