Epoxy and the Automobile Industry

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Image result for Automobile IndustryVarious polymers are utilized in manufacture of automobiles. A polymer is a large molecule made by linking together repeating units called monomers. Once these monomers are linked together or cured the material produced has various properties which are vital to the building of the cars we drive. These include excellent thermal resistance, good chemical resistance, low moisture absorption, high mechanical strength, good heat transfer properties and excellent stiffness.
Some of the specific polymers used in the assembly of motor vehicles include silicone, urethane, polyester and epoxy which are designed for applications ranging from the painting on the outside of the car, to forming the material used make the bumper, to bonding the wire to the PCB board which form many of the control electronics.
All of these polymers share the characteristic of enabling technology. The inside of an automobile is a very demanding environment. A material that has high a level of reliability is required to function under conditions of heat, extreme cold, wetness, high humidity, etc.
Epoxies, in particular, have played a role due to its high chemical and heat resistance. There are many uses for epoxy in the assembly of an automobile. For instance, Epoxy is used in many of the motors used to support functions such as rolling up your car window and circulating coolant on your air conditioning system. In this case of a motor, epoxy performs the function of bonding the magnet to the commutator within the motor. In other functions it is used in wire harnesses to protect wiring in the harsh automobile environment, in another example with compressors to adhere the wiring in the clutch, just to name a few.
Due to the gas crisis and a new desire to leave a more environmental footprint the automotive industry as a whole is moving away from gasoline power vehicles to alternative energy vehicles power by electricity, fuel cells, and ethanol.
The usefulness of epoxy is still clear in light of the change in automobile due to its flexibility. By adjusting the some of the ingredients epoxy can be formulated with customized properties which can be catered to any specific automotive application.Examples of these applications include potting for Flex Fuel sensor due to resistance to ethanol environment and Lithium ion battery packs due to its ability to adhere in alkaline/acidic environments.
The future is guaranteed to bring changes in customer requirements which will spur changes in technology. Participants in the industry will need to ensure their product offering meet the changing requirements of their customers. Epoxy will continue to play large role in the automotive industry due to its versatility.

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