How Tapes and Patches Enable Lightweight Vehicle Design
Vehicle lightweighting continues to be a top priority in the automotive industry. As automakers (OEMs) add more technology, and weight, with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and battery pack technologies, every aspect of today’s vehicles is being evaluated to determine where weight can be removed.
Most efforts at reducing weight have been the result of lightweighting parts. 2D tapes play an important role in acoustic performance, sealing and bonding, enabling OEMs to increase the use of alternate substrates while solving some persistent lightweighting challenges.
In the form of tapes and patches, these lightweight materials help seal sheet metal gaps to reduce sound, prevent water from entering the passenger cabin and increase the structural strength of vehicle components, all while reducing the need to increase the gauge of the substrate used on a specific part. For example, if steel is used to increase a door panel gauge from 0.7 mm to 0.85 mm that could mean an additional 1 kilogram of weight. Whereas the use of a structural patch applied locally in the area where stiffness is needed would only add approximately 100 grams of weight.
Let’s examine these solutions:
Acoustic tapes are made from materials that are tacky and expand to fill large gaps between panels to provide a localized solution to prevent air and noise passing through. Once the tapes are extruded, they can be formed into simple straight strips or can be die cut into unique shapes, which can fit into a specific location on the vehicle structure. These tapes have low density which make them lighter than using baffle type products that have nylon or metal carriers.
Low-density epoxy patches provide local stiffness to panels without the need to increase the gauge of the substrate or use a higher-strength material, which saves weight. Magnetic and non-magnetic versions enable steel or aluminum applications. With the increasing use of aluminum on closure panels, patches will help prevent panel deformation and oil-canning, while also enabling the use of lightweight aluminum.
Henkel’s 2D tapes and resin patches are pre-formed and can be put into any shape of an opening in the vehicle structure to fill open areas and seal gaps. This helps prevent road and wind noise from entering the passenger cabin, keeps water out and adds strength to structures such as door panels, hoods, fenders and trunk lids. Our tapes and patches have low density, which is key for weight reduction, and can be applied to a variety of metal substrates as well as composites that are now part of the materials mix for vehicle lightweighting.
The use of tapes and patches is designed-in to the manufacturing process because they are applied at the body-in-white phase in tier stamping facilities, in OEM body shops, and paint shops. Since oils are used in the manufacturing stamping process, they are designed to adhere to oily surfaces. They also have excellent wash-off resistance as they go through the pretreatment and paint processes, where they expand and cure.
To learn more, join me for a webinar on the topic, Enabling Lightweight Design with Tapes and Patches, on Nov. 7 at 10:00 a.m. EST. Click here to register.