Glued-together body armor takes on modern warfare

Sept. 28, 2006
Armor-plated steel and laminated composite panels sealed during assembly with a high-performance epoxy adhesive from Huntsman Advanced Materials protect the center/passenger portion of Cougar specialty armored vehicles from hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices.

The Cougar is a family of mine-protected vehicles that come in 4X4 or 6X6 layouts. They can be configured for troop carrying, command and control, recovery, and ambulance duty.
Cougar specialty armored vehicles from Force Protection, Inc., Ladson, S.C., ( survive landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Machine Design article. They hold up to 14 troops and handle such tasks as mine and explosive ordnance disposal or serve as blast-protected ambulances. Armored panels that protect the center/passenger portion of the Cougar vehicle along with front and rear axles, radiator, fuel tanks, and battery compartments are armor-plated steel and laminated composite panels. The panels are sealed during assembly with high-performance Araldite 2015 epoxy adhesive from Huntsman Advanced Materials, The Woodlands, Tex., ( Technicians build the panels using a multi-step process that employs mechanical fastening as well as adhesive bonding. Technicians dispense a bead of mixed Araldite 2015 adhesive onto a substrate and spread it with a putty knife. The panel sections are clamped together until the adhesive cures. Facilitating this process is the epoxy's nonsag properties (up to 0.4 in. thick), 35-min work life at room temperature, and rapid cure -- panels can be handled after four hours at 77 F (25°C). Lap shear strength ranges from 3.2 kpsi at 68 F (20°C) to 2.95 kpsi at 104 F (40°C) after a five-day, room-temperature cure. Once cured, the adhesive maintains bond strength even when exposed to gasoline, lubricating oil, and water. It has a glass transition temperature of 181 F (83°C) and a roller peel strength of 25 pli. The adhesive also supports Force Protections advanced, high-efficiency assembly line with its packaging in easy-to-handle 200-ml cartridges for use in pneumatic dispensing guns.

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