Are Adhesives The Future Of Architecture?

Bolts, rods, turnbuckle assemblies, and other fasteners have become an integral part of numerous construction projects. Can they all become obsolete in the near future? Today, more and more architects are talking about replacing fasteners with glue. Is it really possible?

Mechanism assembly is not as important as it used to be in many industries. Even though such things as a tie rod assembly is unlikely to be gone anytime soon, many construction projects are employing industrial adhesives.

Cars and airplanes are already being glued together. So are many appliances. If the new technologies are durable enough for the automotive industry to use, why shouldn’t the construction sector?

The materials are already available. Non-metallic composites such as fiberglass panels, laminated lumber, and carbon fiber are lighter and cheaper than conventional materials used in construction. They are also stronger.

Composite materials are akin to fabrics; they are just more rigid. Gluing them together can create large components. They set hard in under a minute depending on the adhesive used to stick them to each other.

For many years, such materials have been used to manufacture yachts and wind turbines. To go further, they are a standard for some of the Boeing planes and such commercial spacecraft projects as SpaceShipOne.

Won’t It Fall Apart? Trust Problems

The adhesives used to glue large components together have an impressive strength. More often than not, they hold the pieces with a strength that rivals or surpasses regular metal fasteners. However, the construction industry is still wary of such products.

After all, strong metal screws and bolts look much stronger than light glue paste. Don’t they? Even though many studies have proven the gluing force of construction adhesive, people are still wary of the glued structure.

Sometimes, construction workers still use screws and other traditional fasteners to hold together carbon fiber panels. It seems absolutely useless and not cost-efficient but it gives people peace of mind.

Even though the trust problems are hard to overcome, many building projects are taking advantage of glue. The cost-efficiency and the strength of such options have helped more professionals come around to the idea.

Cheaper? Bring It On!

No matter skepticism concerning construction adhesives, cost always plays a major role. It turns out that lighter buildings are cheaper. When you take advantage of the light composite materials, which are glued together, that amounts to a material reduction of as much 80 percent across an overall structure, which is also a substantial savings in cost.

Lower cost is not the only advantage of the light materials. The other bonus is longevity and integrity. These materials fare well when exposed to harsh weather conditions. They don’t expand and contract when exposed to heat and cold as their steel counterparts do.

The new and improved materials come with a few downsides as well. The major one is flammability. In case of a fire, the glue deteriorates and can even fuel the flame. However, manufacturers are working on that problem, which is likely to be fixed in the near future.