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The Trend Towards Sustainability in Adhesives and Sealants Within The Aviation Industry

Published date: 06 Mar 2024

In the world of aviation, every component counts. One often overlooked aspect crucial to aircraft maintenance is the adhesive and sealant applications that hold everything in place.

Traditionally, the aviation industry has heavily relied on solvent-based products, which pose significant environmental risks. With growing awareness of environmental concerns and regulatory pressures, manufacturers are seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprint and enhance their eco-friendly credentials.

In this article, we examine the growing trend towards sustainable adhesives and sealants within the aviation industry. Providing a concise analysis of the current market landscape, we explore the evolution of "green" adhesives and sealants and discuss future developments in this rapidly evolving field.

Sustainable Adhesives

Adhesives offer numerous advantages for aircraft engineering and maintenance, including:

  • Enhanced Efficiency - Adhesives can facilitate weight reduction, enabling aircrafts to exert greater lifting force, therefore improving efficiency.
  • Superior Aesthetics - These products also offer aesthetic advantages as they do not rust or form unsightly lumps, unlike mechanical fasteners or welds.
  • Accelerated Production - Adhesives contribute to reduced cycle times, facilitating increased productivity.
  • Cost Savings - By shortening cycle times, the use of these materials can significantly lower manufacturing costs.
  • Safety Features - Many adhesives incorporate flame retardant properties, essential for ensuring aircraft safety.
  • Environmental Benefits - By reducing the carbon footprint associated with production and application, adhesives contribute to sustainability efforts, requiring less energy compared to alternative methods.

Aviation Sealants

Enhancing the overall safety and efficiency of an aircraft, sealants also play a crucial role in the aviation industry. Additional benefits include:

  • Create a Strong, Durable Seal - Aircraft sealants create robust bonds that effectively seal against fluid and gas leakage. This critical function ensures system integrity, mitigating malfunctions and elevating safety standards.
  • Resistance to Environmental Factors - Often operating in harsh conditions, aircraft sealants can withstand these challenges without compromising performance.
  • Reduce Weight and Improve Fuel Efficiency - Lightweight sealants can significantly reduce the overall weight of an aircraft. This results in greater fuel savings, allowing airlines to operate more efficiently.
  • Streamline Maintenance and Repair Services - By utilising standard application techniques, sealants streamline maintenance procedures, cutting down on complexity and time requirements. This efficiency results in significant cost savings and minimal downtime for aircraft operations.

The Sustainable Use Of Sealants And Adhesives

Sustainable aviation sealants and adhesives offer a pathway towards reducing carbon footprints and minimising ecological harm. The availability of "green" aviation materials has long been recognised, with ongoing research driving the development of new types. These innovations are largely motivated by regulatory restrictions like REACH (the EU’s chemicals regulatory framework), which aim to enhance environmental protection.

However, in certain sectors, particularly those with structural critical applications like aviation, the transition to alternative solutions presents a unique set of challenges. While sustainable alternatives do exist, ensuring they meet stringent strength and performance requirements remains a difficult task. As a result, exemptions for existing products often persist to uphold stringent safety standards.

In the aviation industry, where safety is of the utmost importance, the use of sealants and adhesives is essential for maintaining structural integrity. These materials play a pivotal role in bonding components, sealing joints and safeguarding against leaks. While efforts are underway to introduce more sustainable options, the industry continues to navigate the delicate balance between environmental responsibility and safety assurance.

Despite the hurdles, advancements are being made towards sustainable solutions in aviation and other sectors.

Whether through the refinement of existing products or the introduction of new innovations, the journey towards sustainable sealants and adhesives continues to evolve.

Looking Ahead: Improving The Sustainability Of Adhesives And Sealants

  • Bio-Based Formulations : Manufacturers are continuing to develop aviation sealants and adhesives with renewable, bio-based materials. These formulations reduce reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to lower carbon emissions.
  • Water-Based Alternatives : Transitioning from solvent-based to water-based sealants and adhesives can significantly reduce Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions. This improves air quality both during application and throughout the aircraft’s lifespan.
  • Recyclable Materials : Designing sealants and adhesives with recyclable materials allows for easier recycling and reuse at the end of the product’s lifecycle.
  • Energy-Efficient Production : Implementing energy-efficient manufacturing processes can reduce the environmental footprint during production. This minimises energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Minimal Packaging : Utilising eco-friendly packaging materials and reducing waste can further enhance the sustainability of aviation sealants and adhesives. This significantly reduces environmental impact throughout the supply chain.
  • Prolonged Lifespan : Developing these products with enhanced durability and longevity in mind can extend the lifespan of aircraft components. This reduces the need for frequent replacements and lowers overall environmental impact.

Choose Aerospheres For Top-Tier Adhesive And Sealant Applications

The sustainable use of sealants and adhesives represents a significant opportunity for industries to align with environmental objectives, without compromising on safety or performance.

At Aerospheres, we are deeply committed to prioritising eco-friendly practices in every aspect of our operations. This commitment extends to our packaging, meticulously designed to minimise waste. Additionally, we strive to maximise the shelf life of our stocked products whenever feasible, further reducing environmental impact.

We provide a range of high-quality aircraft sealants and adhesives, from reputable brands such as PPG, Momentive, Huntsman Advanced and Solvay. To find out more about our unparalleled services, please contact us today. One of our knowledgeable advisors will be happy to answer any questions you may have.




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