Suggestions for bonding PVC sheets to ABS sheets, for composite armor?

I have a crazy idea for making tough plates out of thermoplastics. Does anyone have any ideas for bonding PVC to ABS plastic? Two materials will add to the strength and durability of the plate. If possible I would also like to sandwich some kind of fibers in between the two plates, such as carbon fiber. Does anyone have any ideas on this? I was planning on heat forming the sheets, then maybe pressing them together at high heat, but an easier method would be appreciated. 

sort by: active | newest | oldest
canucksgirl5 years ago
Buy a product called "ABS/PVC Transition". It's a pipe cement that will work on both plastics.
ilpug (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
I have! It works great to stick the plates together, but is pretty noxious and takes forever to dry. The stuff you linked to looks better. What i have now is just pipe cement that is formulated to work on both. Plus, the stuff I have is pressure rated.
I think anything pressure rated will be fairly noxious. The process of bonding either ABS or PVC is done with a chemical reaction that quickly melts the plastic, which creates the bond. Since the composition of ABS and PVC is different, its not possible to use the same chemical process, which is why the best (and only method) is to use a pipe cement that is compatible with both plastics.
ilpug (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
Yeah, that's what the stuff I am using is. It says "Pipe cement, suitable for PVC, ABS, Conduit, DVW" "Medium pressure rated"

I am going to try to make an easier method to get larger sheets of this stuff. I want me some armor!
Well good luck with it. I'm not sure what else you could use... other than maybe drilling holes in some of the parts and securing them with "zip ties"; but if you need more ideas/help/suggestions let us know.
ilpug (author)  canucksgirl5 years ago
I considered zip ties... I will have to look at that idea more. Thanks.
rickharris5 years ago
Bonding almost any plastic with an adhesive is very difficult.

In general commercially your looking at using a solvent to melt one plastic and then hold them in very close proximity until the solvent evaporates


Heat bonding them together.

Carbon fiber is usually used with a resin to impregnate the fibers with have tensile strength but little else.

You might be better off with Kevlar as i guess weight isn't too big a problem.

What sort of stress will the armor need to withstand?

If this is just general blunt object damage then polypropylene suitably vacuumed formed into a chest plate for example should be OK but all/most plastics are going to have poor stab or bullet resistance without using exotic materials and processes.

To be honest medieval chain mail has a lot to recommend it.

ilpug (author)  rickharris5 years ago
This armor is NOT INTENDED TO BE RESISTANT TO ANY KIND OF BALLISTICS. Basically, I more or less want to take the concept started with motorcycle armor suits and extend it over my entire body.

I have tried to solvent-weld PVC to ABS in sheet form before, using normal PVC cement, and it works, but you just need to have a very low surface tolerance for unevenness. I just was thinking of a more direct method.

The carbon fiber is probably a bad idea from the start, at least when sandwiched. As you said, it has little strength beyond tensile.

I have tested plates of schedule 40 PVC solvent bonded to ABS, and they are light and strong. With the ABS side being used as the strike face, it will block a pretty determined knife stab, and even if it does penetrate, it will catch the blade very well. They can be shattered by hitting them with a baton, but if the plate was set against a dense foam backing, it does not shatter. The idea of carbon fiber was to prevent the armor from fragmenting when cracked. I have not tried any ballistics test against this plate other than Airsoft guns, which obviously do no damage.

The two main issues with this plating are that with the current solvent technique the two layers can separate if flexed too much, and that if the PVC shatters it gets pretty sharp and shreds any cloth under it.

Any suggestions are helpful.