Aluminium sheet metal is available in a wide range of grades and finishes. It is strong, but much lighter than comparable sheet steel. It is a versatile product that is easily formed into complex shapes. Being able to glue aluminium sheeting is especially useful where other forms of bonding are impractical or undesirable.
You can achieve a good bond between aluminium sheets by overlapping them by a few centimetres. This gives you more surface area on which to apply the adhesive. Using more surface area generally achieves a stronger bond. In situations where only a small overlap is possible, consider adding other support mechanisms, such as rivets, clips and straps, especially where the aluminium sheets are intended to be load bearing.
If you need to make a butt joint between aluminium sheets, consider gluing a supporting member behind them. This is important because the edges, in most situations, will not provide adequate surface area for strong bonding to occur. The support piece could be an overlapping plate of aluminium or other metal. This will add strength and rigidity to the butt joint. A supporting member of wood is also viable, especially for joints requiring slight flexing and suppleness characteristics.
According to construction sealants and adhesives experts Julian R. Panek and John Philip Cook, proper cleaning of surfaces is a tedious but necessary part of the whole gluing process. Get rid of any rust with a wire brush. Where the aluminium is sealed with lacquer, you should remove this with toluene or xylene. Clean new aluminium with a soft rag dipped in an oil-free solvent.
You can use a two part structural acrylic adhesive. CTA 2105, for example, is often used to bond metal in architectural cladding applications. Fit the dual chamber pack into a manual or pneumatic applicator. As you apply pressure, the two components are mixed. You have up to five minutes to apply the adhesive and a further twelve minutes to fix the sheets together before chemical bonding begins. You can also use epoxy adhesive toughened with rubber, according to 3M. The adhesive has high viscosity. In other words, it is resistant to stress. Further, it is non-corrosive, meaning it will not damage the aluminium sheeting.
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