TERMS and FAQ
Terms and Terminology.
Exotherm (or exothermic) - Some chemical reactions create heat. Those that do are called exothermic.
FRP - Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics.
Gel Coat - Sometimes referred to as a pigmented resin. Gel coats are more complicated than that, because they contain fillers, colorants and sometimes UV stabilizers.
Hardener - The term often used referring to the catalyst used in FRP that turns a liquid into a solid.
MEKP - Methyl Ethyl Keyton Peroxide - the catalyst used with polyester resins and gel coats to turn them from a liquid to a solid.
Post Cure - The laminate continues to cure outside of the mold. For best results the laminate should cure while in contact with the mold so that the part is able to reflect the finish of the mold. Post cured parts generally have "print" or "print through".
Vinyl Ester - Resins with superior physical properties. Modified from Epoxies. Use MEKP catalysts. Not good in UV exposure and therefore not typically used as a base for gel coat.
FAQ's and Project Help:
Q? - We are building a bar in our basement and want to "embed" sports memorabilia cards; pins etc. would we have to do this coating in "stages" letting each dry before applying the next? Or can we apply with one coat? I would say the finished coating on the bar would be 1/4 thick. How long would something that thick take to dry completely? Normal basement; with heat and air; not damp down there it is a living area... If using Top Epoxy Resin there would not be a need for multiple applications of the product. The ¼" thickness can be achieved with one coat. Normally, the epoxy will be completely cure in 24 hours. I would to offer a couple of suggestions if I may;/...
1) Mix a small portion of part "A" and part "B": together in a paper cup before applying to the bar top. This will give you some idea of the working time..
2) The two parts must be thoroughly mixed together by adding both components (in exactly equal amounts) to a container and then stirring for 2 minutes.
3) Then pour into another container and mix for one more minute before applying the material to the bar top... Make sure the memorabilia is secured in place and will not move while the epoxy is being applied...
4) Once the epoxy is poured onto the bar top spread it out using a brush making light strokes. The epoxy is self-leveling so not much help is needed and the brush marks will become invisible once the epoxy fully cures...
5) Once the epoxy is in place allow it to cure for 5 minute or so and you will notice air bubbles trapped just under the surface. To remove these bubbles you will need a handheld propane torch. Move the flame rapidly, just above the surface of the bar top. The bubbles will quickly move to the surface and pop. Wait about 5 minutes and repeat this process if necessary... The only problem that people have had with this product can be traced back to not stirring the material together enough. Please spend the extra few minutes each time you prepare more epoxy to ensure that the both part "A" and part "B" are thoroughly mixed together...
Q- Hi, I have a very delicate object which I want to suspend in resin. I am not familliar with the procedure at all. And have no clue where to start. Would you have any information for me? I thank you... A - The trick to suspending an object in resin is not to get the resin too thick, which can cause the resin to crack and thus, ruining the effect. You need to start with a mold, something that will hold the object and the resin. The mold must either be very well waxed or a layer of PVA applied to prevent the resin from sticking to the mold. The resin used should be Fiberlay UV Resistant Epoxy. This product cures crystal clear and you can apply it up to ½" thick without cracking. Mix the resin and hardener together as per the instructions on the can. Mix only enough to cover about 3/8" of the bottom of the mold. Pour the resin/hardener into the mold and allow to cure through, probably about an hour. Place the object into the mold and pour in more thoroughly mixed resin/hardener, enough to make another 3/8" layer. Wait about an hour for the material to cure and then repeat the process until your object is completely covered. Once you are satisfied with the coverage allow 24 hours for the epoxy to cure completely and then remove from the mold. The wax or PVA can be removed with either acetone or (if it is stubborn) use sand paper and then buff the object to remove any scratch marks. Good luck,
Q- My laminate stays "rubbery". Why is this?... A - We would guess that is not cured. Check... - the amount of catalyst used. It may be you used too little./.. - The temperature in the area where you made the part. Was it below 70 F (degrees)? If so raise the temperature in your shop. These reactions are "exothermic" and depend on heat for cure. If the ambient temperature "robs" the laminate of heat the part will not cure... Applications Guide A work in progress... and will always be, but now more than ever. This guide is offered as a service to our customers. We accept no responsiblity if things don't work out for you in following this advise, but we will be glad to hear from you and try to help... Here are many variables that you need to control when working with FRP. The key to success is to be educated as to what those variables are and then controling them to the best of your ability. Some shops don't seem to understand what they can and can not contorl. Most shops can not control humidity, for example, but they can control catalyst percentage. There is little excuse for haveing quality issues if you do not control the variables that are within your power to control... The most obvious and critical are::: Temperature Abmient - Resins and gel coats will not cure in cold environments. If you can not get the ambient temp up to at least 69 degress F, then stop and do something else until you can... Temperature Other - The materials you are using must me within an acceptable range. If it is 80 F in your shop, but the UPS guy just dropped off a pail of resin and its 10 F outside it isn't going to work. Make sure all of your materials are at proper temperatures. If you just brought a mold in from a cold warehouse, the materials put onto the mold will take its temperature. Make sure your mold is at the proper temperature... Catalyst Level - Use the recommended catalyst level. It will vary depending upon whether you are catalizing a gel coat or a resin... Thicknesses - Gel Coat does not work well if too thick or too thin. Too thick and it cracks or doesn't stay where you put it during constuction. Too thin and you get fiber pattern, or it may not cure correctly. Resin thickness depends upon what you are building. Your thickness needs to fit the use of the part being built... Glass Content - If you do not have enough glass in the FRP then the laminate may not be strong enough.