Reactive Nanocomposites for Controllable Adhesive Debonding

Report No. ARL-TR-5649
Authors: Michael Minnicino; James M. Sands
Date/Pages: August 2011; 16 pages
Abstract: The ability to selectively attach and remove items from the surfaces of vehicles, aircraft, and other platforms without damaging the structures is a research interest of the military. An approach to achieving selective attachment, which includes adhesive bonding with on-demand debonding, has been demonstrated as a viable concept. However, the practical use of this approach is unrealized. The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) demonstrated that a bonded bimetallic stratified nanocomposite structure can completely and quickly separate two adhesively coupled surfaces using a small electrical or thermal initiation. The key benefits of the ARL concept are rapid decoupling but also very high bond strengths that can be selected via traditional commercial adhesives. The novelty of an inserted coupling media, the stratified nanocomposite, offers infinite tunability and control of coupling strength. In this report, the critical elements of the approach are demonstrated using bimetallic layers composed of nickel and aluminum fabricated using a vapor deposition process. Unlike other debonding approaches, this method allows for fast, remote, and on-command separation of structurally bonded materials.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: August 1, 2011