“Magic Car Glue” Revolutionizes Automotive Repairs

Imagine delivering your car at 50,000 miles, with structural chassis damage, to your repair shop. Within minutes, new structural parts are in place, with an adhesive bonding that is up to 40% stronger than the original adhesive you bought in the brand new car. 

The American Chemistry Council and Michigan State University have developed a reversible bonding process that makes automotive repairs like this a reality. They’re calling it “Magic Car Glue” a reversible, reusable, multi-material bonding substance that can increase the strength of vehicle part adhesion by 40% yet it can be applied and set in under a minute and melted and removed in just another minute.

So, how does this process work and what can we expect from automotive factories and repair shops once the technology gets implemented?

Ferromagnetic-nano-particulate-electro-magnetic (whew!) glue involves nano-sized (atomic sized) spheres of iron inside a polymer (it looks like dust when mixed, but is a highly engineered nano-material). When alternating electric current changes the magnetic field (the north- and south-pole orientation of the “field” around the glue spheres) rapidly (household current is 60 Hz or, 60 times a second, the nanoparticle balls vibrate). Vibration causes friction, causing the polymer temperature to rise to 400-800 degrees within seconds! So, the repair shop could melt the adhesive and dissemble a chassis in minutes. 

The bonding agent has been shown to work on joining metal to metal, metal to composite, and composite to composite – without apparent damage to any composite fibers, and amazingly even increasing the overall joint strength.

The magic behind the process, aside from an amazing cure time, is that it ultimately will eliminate need for many physical fasteners like nuts, bolts, clips, clamps, and snaps in the repair and assembly process, saving vehicles time and weight and increasing fuel economy. 

The ability to disassemble and reassemble a part electronically in minutes for a repair or after a collision may change the future of automotive repair. Multi-material reversible bonding can save time, labor and effort while supporting opportunities for future modular “upgrades” (more room inside, another seat, adding an entertainment center, a bigger truck bed, etc.). 

High temperature exposure during production and repair (read: welding) can affect aluminum and steel join performance. In the future, multi-materials could use this “magical” glue to make fast repairs and leave the shop with a joint that is as strong as or stronger than new. 

This bonding technology revolutionizes both the automotive repair and factory development process by giving us the ability to bond, un-bond, and strengthen vehicle structural parts like a chassis in a way that helps keep weight down, and changes the way we think about joint fatigue altogether. 

For more, just check out the press buzz generated after Sandra McClelland, automotive business development manager, Solvay Specialty Polymers USA and presenting chair, American Chemistry Council (ACC) Auto Team, described the latest discoveries in multi-material bonding at the Management Briefing Seminars (a premiere gathering of auto industry executives) in July 2017:

Bonding mixed materials is at hand

Repaired carbon-fiber frame can be stronger than original structure

New Automotive “Connector” Technology

‘Magic glue’ could provide quick, reversible bonding in auto body shop, factory

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