A Glossary of 122 Industry Terms –

In the world of gelcoat and resin, like every industry, there are terms used that are considered common-place. We have an extensive glossary to help with those terms. Have some others you think we should add? Message us and let us know!

A

Accelerator – An additive to polyester resin that reacts with the catalyst to speed up polymerization. This is required in room temperature cured resins. See Promoter.

Acetone – In an FRP context, acetone is primarily useful as a cleaning solvent for removal of uncured resin from applicator equipment and clothing. Very flammable liquid.

Additive – Substance added to resin mix to impart special performance qualities, such as ultraviolet absorbers, flame retarding materials (antimony trioxide, chlorinated waxes).

Air-drying – To cure at room temperature with the addition of catalyst but without the assistance of heat and pressure.

Alligatoring – Wrinkling of the gelcoat film that resembles alligator hide.

B

Bag molding – A technique for forming and pressure-hardening plastics or plastics laminates by means of air pressure, vacuum and/or heat in a flexible or semi-flexible bag or autoclave, usually in connection with a rigid die or mold.

Barcol hardness – A determination of surface hardness of a polyester using a Barcol Impressor.

Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) – The catalyst used in conjunction with aniline accelerators or where heat is used as an accelerator.

Bi-directional – An arrangement of the reinforcing fiber strands in which half the strands are laid at right angles to the other half, a directional pattern that gives the maximum product strength to those two directions.

Binder – A resin soluble adhesive that secures the random fibers in chopped strand mat or continuous strand roving.

Blister – A flaw or air pocket between layers of laminant or between the gelcoat film and the first layer of laminant.

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Tech Question: “Can I apply resin to foam?”

foam-blockMany of our customers look to make sculptures out of fiberglass and resin. Foam is a common material as it’s easy to carve and sand to your desired shape. But, can you put Polyester resin on the top of it? It’s a question we get asked constantly.

Your first step needs to be finding out what kind of foam it is. Certain types of foam have different temperature variations. Polyurethane foam, like the kinds we sell in 4’ x 8’ sheets offer different temperature variations from things like Polystyrene. Once you figure out which foam you have, you can figure out what you need to do.

With Polyurethane foam, it will easily withstand Polyester or Epoxy resin applied to the top of it without having to do anything special. We recommend scuffing the surface with some sandpaper to get the best bond, but once the standard surface prep is done, you can apply your gelcoat, resin or epoxy.Polyurethane foam

With Polystyrene or Styrofoam, you can’t directly apply Polyester or Epoxy directly to Styrofoam, as it will melt the foam. Fortunately, we have a couple of products you can use to still make it work. The first product is an FGCI product called Styrocoat that uses a standard epoxy activator and will provide a protective shell over the Styrofoam. The other product is made by Duratec and is called Styro-Shield. Styro-Shield is a Polyester-based product that uses MEK-P and will provide a protective coating once hard.

So, no matter what kind of foam you use, we have a way to make your fiberglass mold or fiberglass-based product. Don’t forget that if you have questions, we are here to help! Give us a call at 1-800-272-7890, or e-mail us or contact us through Facebook or Twitter!

6 Steps to Proper Surface Prep for Gelcoat

gelcoat-sandingApplying gelcoat is a process that requires a bit of skill, a lot of know-how and the right tools and materials. So, before you spray or brush the gelcoat on, you want to make sure you prepare the surface you are recoating for the best results.

Step #1 – You will want to start off by cleaning the surface with Lacquer Thinner to remove any wax and oil. The next part of step 1 is sanding the surface with 80 grit sandpaper, like our OEM brand. This will knock all the oxidation and wax from the surface. You do not have to sand it down to raw fiberglass. Make sure you use proper safety equipment, like dust masks.

If you DO have raw fiberglass spots, you are just going to lightly hit those spots to clean them up. These areas will usually require a second coat of gelcoat.

Step #2 – Clean with Acetone or MEK Solvent and let the solvent dry. As soon as it’s dry, you can get started, but don’t wait more than 20 minutes before starting your process.

Step #3 – If you are doing multiple coats of gelcoat, the first coat should not have wax or Sanding Aid in it. If you purchased Interior Gelcoat, it already has wax in it, meaning, if you are applying multiple coats, you will want to wait until the gelcoat is cured and wipe it down with Lacquer Thinner and then sand the gelcoat before applying your second coat.

Step #4 – Mix in your catalyst and apply your gelcoat by either spraying it or brushing it, using our brushable gelcoat. After applying, let it sit for 12 hours before doing anything to it.

Step #5 – Lightly sand the gelcoat with 1200 grit sandpaper or use a compound that is equal to 1200 grit, like our Aqua Buff 2000. Larger blemishes will require a lower grit sandpaper to knock down any high spots.

Step #6 – Apply a wax to give it that factory shine. We sell Farecla, Presta, Flitz and 3M brands that work great.

Product Spotlight: Aqua Buff-With Video

aqua-buffBuffing compounds can make your hard work look great, or it avoids you from having to redo things by removing scratching and creating a great shine. One of the products we carry that is very popular called Aqua Buff, made by Hawkeye Indsutries. Let’s take a look at the product and the two variations.

Aqua Buff is a great, inexpensive compound that can be used to remove scratches, oxidation and swirl marks. We carry two types of Aqua Buff; the 1000 and the Aqua Buff 2000. The 1000 is carried in gallon, 2-gallon, 5-gallon and drum sizes and is used for deep scratches and heavy oxidation. The Aqua Buff 2000 handles the finer scratches and the swirl marks and light oxidation. The Aqua Buff 2000 is carried in quarts, gallons, 2-gallon buckets, 5-gallon buckets and drums. Both Aqua Buff products can be either a blue color or a white color.

There are a few tricks, as you may see in the video to using Aqua Buff and getting the best result. With Aqua Buff, it is recommended that you spray some water over the applied wax before buffing. Also, you want to use a buffer that is able to achieve 2500 RPM for best results.

Aqua Buff is a great product you can find in our showrooms, on our website, FGCI.com and on Amazon and Ebay as well.

New Product Spotlight: FGCI Mil Gauge

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We talk a lot about gelcoat on this blog. We have stated on multiple occasions that gelcoat has to be applied with a certain thickness, generally 15-20 mils thick. How do you know exactly how thick your gelcoat coverage is? The answer is that you use a mil gauge, also known as a wet laminate gauge.

A mil gauge is a simple piece that you place on to your sprayed surface when the gelcoat is wet. When you pull it up, you look to see which teeth have gelcoat on them. You look at the highest number that has coating on it and it will give you a mil thickness; simple, right?

We have a new batch of mil gauges that are now online through Amazon and Ebay and available on our website, www.FGCI.com or in our showrooms. Pick yours up today.

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