By bonding the two materials together, the benefits of each material are combined in one product that is able to withstand shock while maintaining strength and rigidity.
When rubber is bonded to metal, there are three essential elements: rubber, a bonding agent and the metal substrate. The rubber may be any kind of rubber, either natural rubber or a synthetic. Synthetic rubbers are used more often in rubber bonding applications because they may be altered in production to suit certain types of metals or adhesives, always with the goal of producing the strongest, most reliable bond.
The metal may also be any kind of metal, although it is usually steel or aluminum. Steel and steel alloys such as stainless steel, have been the most common of bonded metal products for many years because of its durability and intense resistance to corrosion.
However, in recent years the same qualities have been exhibited in aluminum with the additional attributes of low cost and light weight, making aluminum bonding just as popular, if not more so. The bonding agent varies depending on the type of rubber and the type of metal being bonded. Industrial adhesives have been a staple choice, although water-based adhesives are gaining numbers because of their environmentally friendly aspects.
Although the rubber, the metallic element and the adhesive may vary from application to application, depending on the physical characteristics desired by the buyer, the process is pretty standard across the board. The metal substrate is sprayed with the bonding agent and then laid in a mold, upon which is then poured uncured rubber.
Keeping the metal substrate steady within the mold is one of the most difficult and crucial aspects of the process, since the part must be fully coated to come out correct. When the hot, nearly melted rubber cools, the rubber bonded to metal product is finished and ready to go. The products produced by this process are used in many different manufacturing applications, specifically for the isolation of vibration.
The automotive industry in particular uses many rubber bonded parts, although many other industries utilize them as well. To name a few, industrial manufacturing companies, electronic companies and farm tool companies all utilize the gears and bearings produced from bonded rubber and metal products. The medical industry requires the physical characteristics of silicon bonded materials in particular for surgical instruments and other medical supplies.