Dow Corning® has demonstrated time after time its endearing qualities as a global leader in adhesive silicone adhesive technology and products; the company has done it again with the introduction of its new Dow Corning® EA-7100 Thermal Radical Cure (TRC) Adhesive. With its 2015 nominations for the prestigious R&D 100 Award in both the Market Disrupter category and the Mechanical Devices/Materials category, Dow’s new TRC adhesive promises to offer “game-changing benefits” to its customers in the transportation electronics sector.
Among the potential applications for this breakthrough in adhesive technology are the assembly of electronics housings, the attachment of connectors, electronic control units (ECUs), lighting and display modules, or sensors, to an unprecedented variety of substrates.
A Breakthrough in Adhesion and Cure Time
The list of materials that EA-7100 has demonstrated compatibility with include metals such as aluminum, brass, copper, and steel, as well as ceramics, glass, laminates, silicones and plastics that typically haven’t had good cohesive adhesion properties. Compatibility is possible with polymer plastics such as polycarbonates and polyethylenes (including LDPE and PEX), Nylon, acetal plastics, Plexiglass®, PVC, liquid crystal polymers, and cured silicones; often without pretreatment or specialized cleaning. Dow indicates that it expects this list to continue to grow as new applications are developed and tested, and there is no doubt that robust adhesion to such a diverse range of materials will enable new product designs that may revolutionize the manufacturing of automotive electronics.
The unique ability to bond to so many substrates magnifies the overall performance of TRC adhesives when presented with their low voiding and significantly reduced cure time compared to conventional heat-cure, platinum catalyzed silicone adhesive systems. The adhesive has demonstrated the ability to achieve a full cure in as little as 15 minutes at 100°C compared to the longer 60 minute cure time of conventional single-part, addition-cure adhesives at 125°C. In some applications, cohesive adhesion begins in as little as 3 minutes, a quality that, along with lower cure temperatures, is sure to increase production efficiency in the manufacture of transportation and automotive electronics products. This highly effective curing process yields lower energy use and lower material processing costs.
A New Kind of Cure
With the onset of cohesive adhesion occurring in as little as 3 minutes, Dow Corning’s EA-7100 can cure to a wide range of substrates simultaneously. Curing and adhesion begin before skin-over, in bulk, and at the bond line, and 100% adhesion is achieved immediately after cure time. While the adhesive surface exposed to oxygen remains tacky until its dual cure system is completed, the cohesive adhesion allows for immediate hot testing, and surface tack can be reduced by curing the adhesive in a low oxygen oven.
Typical “addition cure” silicone adhesives have shown sensitivity to certain contaminants such as amines or sulfur, that interfere with bonding, but EA-7100 has proven to be unaffected by either. As a thixotropic adhesive with reduced viscosity under agitation, it requires neither extensive cleaning before application nor pre-treatment in most cases. With little to no cleaning or pre-treatment required, primers, plasma, and UV or corona processes can be reduced and possibly eliminated in some applications, another cost reducing benefit.
Enhanced Adhesive Performance
What does it take for a high-performance silicone adhesive to claim the title “high performance?” It’s more than just versatility among a variety of applications and substrates, lower cure temperatures, and less cure time; it also requires enhanced adhesive properties. Properties such as adhesion, shear, tensile strength, resistance to corrosion, and superior reliability under water immersion and salt water spray environments make Dow Corning EA-7100 stand out as a high-performance adhesive.
EA-7100 shows adhesion strength up to 350 PSI to aluminum substrates, while adhesion to PBT thermoplastics such as Ticona® and BASF® is even higher; up to 380 PSI at 100% cure. With a Shore A durometer hardness of 43, it’s tensile strength is a whopping 490 PSI, and its shear strength on aluminum and PBT substrates is over 350 PSI (after only 30 minutes of cure time).
Greater Design Flexibility and Cost Control
Dow Corning EA-7100 Adhesive was developed to give manufacturers of automotive electronics and electronics modules greater design flexibility and cost control. This innovative one-part thixotropic adhesive technology widens the possibility for new, improved models with more superior performance potential and more cost control than previously available for applications in automotive and transportation electronics.
Durable adhesion to a wide range of substrates is formed simultaneously with the cure, increasing the flexibility of new product designs. Both faster cure times and lower cure temperatures increase production efficiency and reduce energy costs. Small void formation, reduced sensitivity to contaminants, and improved adhesion in harsh environments including hot and cold temperature extremes, salt spray exposure, as well as both fresh and saltwater immersion also enhances new design possibilities.
More Application Possibilities
The opportunities for applications in the manufacturing of transportation and automotive electronics are as diverse as can be expected for a Dow Corning adhesive product. EA-7100 can be considered for a variety of uses in the assembly of plastic and metal electronics housings and components, as well as for attaching electrical connectors, lighting components, and sensors to a wide range of substrates.
Possibilities for powertrain applications in the electronic management of engine performance and emissions, control of automatic gearboxes, and in the management of power steering and braking functions include various ICU modules and sensors that can benefit from this new adhesive technology. Safety and driver assistance sensors and controls such as those used with airbags, crash detection, tire pressure monitoring, adaptive lighting, and speed control functions would also benefit from this innovative adhesive technology. There are numerous applications in driver and occupant comfort, climate control, power accessories, and power distribution as well. Contact the Robert McKeown Company at email@example.com or 800.631.1125 to discuss your application with one of our in house engineers.
About Dow Corning
Dow Corning is a global leader in innovation of adhesive, sealant, and silicone technologies that include more than 7000 individual products and services. With more than 25,000 corporate customers worldwide, Dow Corning offers innovative products and solutions for a diverse range of industries, manufacturing, and service sectors.
Experience the Product’s Performance First-Hand
For a sample of EA-7100, or to learn more call the Robert McKeown Company at 800.631.1125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org