Bonding side panels to metal frame posts to build smooth-sided trailers, truck cabs and other vehicle exterior applications with 3M™ VHB™ Tape.
Designing unconstrained smooth-sided design solution in which the exterior walls are attached to the posts using 3M™ VHB™ Tape, and the top and bottom of the panels are left to “float” in a notch-like component designed into the extrusions. This unconstrained design allows the panel to expand vertically when exposed to heat. The differential expansion of 0.120 inches experienced on a 96-inch unconstrained panel to post application is within the design parameters of 3M™ VHB™ Tape. The same expansion of 0.120 inches on a constrained design that utilizes mechanical fasteners at the top and bottom extrusions could cause the exterior skin to buckle. 3M found that a design that leaves only one end of the panel to float – top or bottom – will also allow the panel to expand on an even plane, which helps to prevent delamination.
Proper craftsmanship and preparation in the manufacturing process is key to realizing all the benefits 3M™ VHB™ Tape can provide. Much of the preparation depends on the materials being bonded together, but some factors that are crucial in the application of nearly any adhesive tape include:
Use only an approved tape and surface preparation combination for the specific materials being bonded together. 3M conducts individual customer tests to help a customer optimize the surface preparation for the customer’s substrates and 3M(TM) VHB(TM) Tape selection.