In-Mould Gel-Coating for polymer composites
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Surface coatings (gel-coats) are often used on commercial composite mouldings for cosmetic and/or durability reasons. They have traditionally been prepared in open moulds with styrene vapour allowed to escape to the workspace and environment. This paper considers the development of in-mould gel-coating processes. A Double Glass Plate Mould (DGPM) was used to prepare flat composite test panels. Laminates were manufactured by liquid composite moulding processes. Conventional hand painted gel-coat, innovative In-Mould Gel-Coating with a trilayer separator fabric (IMGC) or In-Mould Surfacing with a silicone shim (IMS) were studied. The surface quality of the final products was measured using a Wave-Scan device while the adhesion of the gel-coat was characterised by pull-off tests. The new processes offer reasonable properties in a cleaner, more controlled process.
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