Technician Interview: Carbon Fiber

Many FGCI customers and subscribers have asked questions that were related to a better understanding of Carbon Fiber. So, we sat down with our technician, Pat Hery, and informed him of the common questions, and we must say, the responses were quite interesting!

 

 

 

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What are the common uses for carbon fiber?

There are many common uses for carbon fiber such as golf clubs, bicycles, aircrafts, automotive, iPhone cases. But, we usually see carbon fiber used as aesthetics, like car parts, hoods and speaker boxes. Unless used for race car or boats were speed is the demand.

What are the advantages of using carbon fiber?

The advantage is, it has the same thickness compared to steel. And as far as stiffness and strength the comparison will require more fiberglass to get the same yield. 

What is the prep method before the application process?

The method depends solely on the mold or if they are overlaying a part. Using epoxy or Vinylester can also be a determining factor. Now let’s say they decide to use epoxy, then, they need to determine if the epoxy is high temp due to the fact that most epoxies will soften up in Florida or in an area that is hot. If they are overlaying a part or making a one-off, they will laminate the carbon, put an extra coat of resin, sand with a 320 and apply an automotive clear.

What are the different ways to apply?

The different methods to apply carbon fiber depend on the surface area one is trying to go over. Carbon Fiber doesn’t like anything but a general curve. When it comes to the application, most will spray super 3M 77 so once the carbon is put in place, it won’t move when doing a thorough wet out of the carbon.

Does the thickness of the carbon matter?

When it comes to thickness of the carbon, this will be important as it can dictate the maximum strength you are looking for. Lastly, the thickness of the layup will depend on what you are trying to achieve.

What is Hi Gloss Ultra Clear Epoxy?

We discussed Laminating Epoxy and its 5 great key points about the product such as product comparisons, ratio, cure time, and activator results. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read our blog, (Click Here ).

Now, let’s change gears slightly and talk about Hi Gloss Ultra Clear Epoxy. You may have noticed the Hi Gloss Ultra Clear Epoxy’s first appearance looks similar to Table Top Epoxy and after the cure process, both products obtain a clear result. With the noticeable similarities, we assure you there are also differences that make them stand out. For one, Hi Gloss Ultra Clear Epoxy works great for surfboards and casting because of it’s 2:1 ratio. In contrast, Table Top Epoxy requires a 1:1, thin pours of no more than 1/4 of an inch. This allows a perfect coating application not casting. Hi Gloss Ultra Clear Epoxy 133547provides a clear gloss surface without the need to sand or buff. How is this possible? The results may sound similar to the Table Top Epoxy, however, the Hi Gloss Ultra Clear Epoxy cures to an almost clear finish all due to its zero UV additives. Because the product does not consist of any UV additives, your project will need to be clear coated after it has set up. With its 100% solids epoxy resin system, this product is designed for both laminating, casting and coating applications. It has a great easy wet out with a moderate gel time of 20 – 30 minutes at room temperature in a 1/2 pound mass.

Tip: Cure may be accelerated by mild heat such as lamps or tunnel ovens.

 

5 Key Points on Laminating Epoxy Resin

We can guess that you have used Epoxy before, if not, more than likely you have seen furniture, an object or project with epoxy on it. Now, Epoxy is not the same as Polyester and Vinylester due to its chemical properties. Another difference is, Polyester and Vinylester uses the same hardener and as a result, the appearance between the two are similar, while epoxy tends to have a slight yellow or amber appearance. 125463There are many different categories of epoxy, so today we will highlight one of them; laminating epoxy.

1) The laminating system cures to a high strength moisture resistant plastic, with good physical properties.

2) The ratio is well suited for use with high-solids marine, maintenance coating and bonding agents.

3) The cure time is three days in the sun or a week if it is not. Set time changes with activator and film thickness.

4) If there is an excessive amount of activator applied , the laminating epoxy will be soft and rubbery. In contrast, if there is not enough activator, the epoxy will not cure hard.

5) The epoxy cures faster in high temperatures in thick layer applications.

Please note: additional recoating of this material is thoroughly cured. If the product has cured hard and tack-free, a light sanding and solvent wash is advisable before recoating.

 

Let’s Take a Look at Our Infusion Seminar.

 

Earlier today, the University of FGCI, CCG and Diab hosted a seminar on infusion at the Ft. Lauderdale Training Center (5553 Anglers Ave Ste. 105 Ft. Lauderdale FL, 33312). The event was from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM where eager attendees learned the introduction to infusion, sandwich concept, infusion theory, consumables and the equipment. In closing out our seminar with a hands-on infusion demonstration, each person learned how to drive resin into laminate by using the vacuum pressure method.

If you were unable to attend today’s free infusion seminar, FiberGlass Coatings, Inc. will host another session this Thursday, April 5th, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM at the Ft. Lauderdale Training Center. Lunch will be provided. We are excited to meet all of you there!

Would you like to view the entire photo album? Click here: https://business.facebook.com/pg/FiberglassCoatings/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2005223812825511

The definitive How-To on Table Top Epoxy

table top kit1One of our most popular products is our Cyrstal Clear Table Top Epoxy. This two-part epoxy is not only crystal clear, but UV Resistant and is great for many kinds of projects from River Rock to castings to topping a bar or table. The product has many uses and is relatively easy to use, but there are a few tip and secrets that will give you better results, and an easier experience.

The first step of any resin product is always the surface preparation. You will want to start by sanding the surface down. Once it has been lightly sanded, you do need to make sure it’s completely clean and oil free before applying. Be sure to wipe down the surface with Isopropyl Alcohol before starting. If you are using this product on wood, be sure the wood is completely dry, or it will give off moisture and cloud the coating.

Epoxies are extremely sensitive to temperature and our Table Top is no different. If your environment is under 60 degrees, the epoxy will likely not cure out properly. Also, if the temperature is over 90, you will find an extremely quick working time. One thing our technicians always recommend is setting the product in warm water for a half hour to get the epoxy warm. You will find it flows better and makes getting rid of air bubbles much easier.

Fiberglass Coatings Crystal Clear Table Top Epoxy is a 1:1 ratio mixture. The most important part of this whole process is getting the two parts mixed properly before application.

To start, be sure to have proper protection, like an apron, gloves, a face mask and safety glasses. Once you have the proper protection have two separate mix and measure cups and pour each mixture separately and exactly the same. Do not pour more than you need, as whatever you mix will get hard and won’t be reusable. From there, pour the two mixtures into a third cup, giving you the most accurate mixture. Be sure to pour as close together as you can, as air bubbles are your enemy here.

After scraping the cups and getting the mixture out comes the toughest part; stirring. Many people want to whip it like a custard or pudding. While those things are delicious, it does add air to your mixture, meaning cloudiness and air bubbles you may not be able to get out. So, stir the mixture slowly for a full 3 minutes. Set a timer, if you need to, but do not skimp on the timing. As you stir, you should see the mixture go from cloudy to crystal clear, with hopefully little to no air bubbles.

Once the two components have been thoroughly mixed, it’s time to apply the product. You need to remember you have a fairly small working time, depending on the temperature. At 70 degrees, you have roughly 20 minutes before it starts to really get hard, but at 90 degrees, your working times is a bit less than 10 minutes. When applying, you pour the syrup-like liquid on to your surface and spread the liquid evenly over the surface. I like to just put a glove on my hand and spread it that way, but you can use a brush if you choose.

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Once the product has been leveled, it will continue to self-level to a point, but it will need help. Be sure to allow it to drip down the sides, or if you build a dam, ensure it doesn’t leak.

Now, you want to get the air bubbles out. If you find most of your air bubbles are on the surface, you are in luck. Our Bust-a-Bubble spray is great for drawing them up and out. Simply give a light spray to the product and watch the bubble go away. Do not let the Bust-a-Bubble pool; you are only looking for one or two spritzes to do the trick. Bust-a-Bubble works best with the thicker pours. If your project is a thin film, using too much will slow or stop the curing.

If you have bigger, deeper bubbles, you will need to try something different. The best thing is generally a heat gun. Adding heat to the mixture thins the epoxy, allowing the bubble to float to the surface and pop. Some people will also use a toothpick to pop the bubbles. I’ve found, for deep bubbles, a combination of the two works great.

The thinner the mixture, the longer it will start to get tacky. If the pour is fairly thick, it will get hard in about an hour, with a complete cure coming in about 24 hours. If it’s a thin pour, since there is very little heat given off, you will see a complete cure taking closer to 48 hours.

Multiple pours are absolutely fine with Table Top Epoxy. You want to wait until the product is tacky and setup before applying your next coat. As with before, be sure to apply slowly to not get air bubbles and keep applying until you achieve the thickness you need. If you do let it completely cure, you will need to sand the product down to 220 grit, wash the product with soap and water and re-clean with Isopropyl Alcohol before applying a new coat, so it’s best to apply while still tacky.

Remember that while our Table Top has a better UV protection than the rest, it doesn’t mean it’s meant for something with direct sunlight. We recommend keeping it out of the direct sunlight to avoid yellowing.

Another benefit of using Table Top is how easy it is to repair. If you have scratches or dings on your table, you can always lightly sand the surface and add another layer to give it that new table finish. Just be sure to clean your surface again before applying that new coat.

Table Top can also be tinted or pigmented. We sell many colors you can add to the mix to change the color, from a see-through color, to a dense color. You will find very little pigment goes a long way. Adding too much pigment can slow or stop curing, so a little dab will do ya’.

After your table is done, I recommend adding a UV Polymer wax to your covering to add even more UV protection and also bring out the shine. We sell a Presta brand that works very well!

So, there you go! Everything you needed to know about Table Top. Easy, right? If you have questions, remember, we have technicians that are available to answer any other questions you have, so don’t be afraid to ask!