A sticky gel that could have held the London Eye

October 31, 1999

The engineers in charge of hoisting the London Eye into position could have prevented the cable joints from failing by using a new sticky gel that uses the frictional properties of materials to bond the two components together, claim researchers. These so-called "Trib-gels", being developed by Tribtech, are smeared onto the surfaces of the two components to be joined together. Moving the two components relative to eachother causes a metal-to-metal bond that resembles the ægallingÆ of two metals, dramatically increasing the frictional properties of the materials. This bond would have held the cables that slipped free of the brackets used to hoist the London Eye on the first failed attempt.

Trib-gels are one of a number of techniques that are being developed to join materials together without having to rivet or fuse weld them. These processes, called solid state joining, allow engineers to join materials together more quickly and using less energy than traditional means. Some of these techniques, reviewed by Dr Richard Johnson from TWI Ltd. in the November issue of Materials World, are being fully exploited in the oil, gas, drilling, aerospace and construction industries.

Notes For Editors
1. This item is due to appear as an article in the November 1999 issue of Materials World. The article "Exploiting solid state joining" is written by Dr Richard Johnson. Materials World, Volume 7, Issue 11, page ###. Tel: +44 (0)1223 891 162. Email: rjohnson@twi.co.uk
2. Brief contents of Materials World, The journal of The Institute of Materials, are also available on the web: www.materials.org.uk 3. The views and opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and are not necessarily the views of Materials World, IoM Communications or any other organisation with which they are associated.

Institute of Materials

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