Category Archives: Materials Testing

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

By Bruce Niederer

Among both professionals and amateurs in the world of composites, there are certain enduring misconceptions and rumors regarding the effects of elevated temperature on an epoxy bond. Armed with just enough misinformation to be dangerous, folks will make important decisions that can lead to costly or time-consuming mistakes that might have been avoided if they had an adequate understanding of the principles that encompass epoxy structures and temperature. By defining some commonly used terms and briefly discussing issues surrounding application, we hope to dispel some of these misconceptions. Continue reading

Comparing Cost and Weight of Flat Panels

By Jeff Wright

We compared the cost and weight of four panel types:

• Epoxy coated XL Plywood Boat Panel

• Epoxy coated Okoume Marine Plywood

• Epoxy/fiberglass/balsa cored composite

• Epoxy/fiberglass/core cell foam composite       

Many WEST SYSTEM® customers appreciate the benefits of cored composite construction. They understand that it creates a part that is lightweight, strong, and stiff. We often receive calls from these customers inquiring about using a composite panel when building or repairing something that would normally be made of plywood. Such projects may include a Continue reading

Effect of Surface Treatment on Adhesion to Metals

By Brian Knight

We have performed tens of thousands of adhesion tests over the years and many of these tests were done on metal surfaces. Below is a summary of tests done on a variety of metal surfaces and done with a variety of surface preparations. As you look at the chart, notice the surface preparation that gives the highest number.

All the tests shown below were performed using a PATTI (pneumatic adhesive tensile test instrument) meter. We chose this test method as our default adhesion Continue reading

WEST SYSTEM Epoxy vs. Polyester for Fiberglass Boat Repair

By Tom Pawlak

Even though we’ve been promoting the use of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy for repairing fiberglass boats (boats made with polyester resin) in our manuals and Epoxyworks for many years, we continue to receive inquiries asking whether it is appropriate to use epoxy for polyester boat repair. Because of the misinformation still prevalent in marinas, local yacht clubs and on the Internet, we felt it was time to restate the case for epoxy. Continue reading

Polyester Over Epoxy

By Jeff Wright

Most production fiberglass boats are made with polyester resin. WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is a wonderful material for repairing polyester fiberglass boats. One reason for this is the ability of epoxy to form a stronger mechanical bond to a damaged laminate than polyester resin. Epoxy also provides a better moisture barrier than polyester resin. Continue reading

There Will Be a Test

By Kay Harley

A research mentality and ongoing testing permeate all levels of Gougeon Brothers, Inc. We are committed to rigorous, long-term research on WEST SYSTEM products and their uses with other materials in wide-ranging applications. Studies include the basic chemistry involved, safety for users and the environment, formulation changes, product modifications such as adding pigments or UV additives, panel strength and stiffness with varying composite lay-ups, and the strengths of epoxy bonds, including hardware bonding. GBI commits capital investments to improve its testing capability and supports active ASTM involvement.

GBI’s testing is an important part of its customer support. Often it is prompted by specific questions or requests from customers. As discussed here, fatigue tests of various composite Continue reading

Building for Long-Term Competitive Performance

By Bram Dally

Swift Solo, a single handed skiff built by Bram Dally.

When Meade Gougeon asked me if I’d write a piece about what I’m up to for Epoxyworks, I was honored. He had read the January 2002 article on my single-handed skiff in Sailing World and offered the assistance of GBI (Gougeon Brothers, Inc.) to do some extensive testing for us on several composite samples. The findings will be made public and should be educational. The cedar-cored samples particularly interest me because we’ve had good success using cedar cores and there seems to be a pervasive lack of understanding regarding this composite in high-tech applications. While many high-quality ski and snowboard manufacturers have tried other exotic Continue reading

Woods of the World Adhesion Testing

By Tom Pawlak

We recently purchased a 154-piece wood sampler from Eisenbrand Inc., Torrance, California. The 3″ × 6″ × ½” specimens originated from points all around the world. Each specimen was provided with its common name, scientific name, and country of origin. There were several specimens we’ve never heard of.

The PATTI test uses compressed air to pull the stud from the surface. It records the force required to break the bond in pounds per square inch. In all cases tested, the epoxy held and the wood failed. Continue reading

Chopped Strand Mat

Chopped Strand Mat and Epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

Chopped strand mat, in fabric form, is sold on the roll and in small folded packages. It is made up of 1″-2″ long fiberglass strands that are randomly oriented and typically held together with a styrene-soluble binder that acts like glue connecting the fibers. The binder is designed to dissolve upon contact with styrene in polyester resin or vinylester resin. Once dissolved, the fabric softens, allowing it to drape around curved shapes. It comes in a variety Continue reading

Epoxy Adhesion Over Stains

By Tom Pawlak

We have occasionally reported results of adhesion testing of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy to wood coated with various stains. In Varnish Over Epoxy (Epoxyworks 18), we touched on the topic of wood stains under epoxy and warned that some oil-based stains would cause an adhesion problem for WEST SYSTEM epoxy. Since then, we have done some additional adhesion testing to a number of stains. Continue reading