Combining Epoxy Resin & Fibers for Strong Composites
The marrying of epoxy resin and reinforcing fibrous materials such as fiberglass, carbon fiber (pictured above), polyester fiber, and biofibers, combine to form a material stronger than either would be on its own. This process is called “wetting out” whereby fibrous material is impregnated with epoxy resin during the manufacturing process of a variety of items including sporting goods and marine vessels.
Wetting out may also be performed with epoxy resin without using fibers as a two-step bonding process when working with Marine Epoxy Resin for instance; “Two-step bonding is the preferred method for most situations because it promotes maximum epoxy penetration into the bonding surface and prevents resin-starved joints. Single-step bonding can be used when joints have minimal loads and excess absorption into porous surfaces is not a problem. In both cases, epoxy bonds best when it is worked into the surface with a roller or brush.”
The wetting out composite manufacturing process completely coats and seals underlying fibers providing for lighter weight components, as well as material lifecycle and performance improvements. Epoxy resin composites have become a viable alternative to and frequent replacement for materials previously manufacturing through die casting, metal assembly and traditional plastic methods.
Benefits of Epoxy Resin Composites
The benefits of incorporating long-fiber thermoplastic composites into manufacturing processes are many and varied including inhibiting material cracking, superior rigidity and impact resistance, higher load handling capabilities, better material stability under stress and reduced material shrinkage during manufacturing.
Epoxy resin composites are used by myriad industries where high-performance materials are required that are lightweight, structurally superior and built to reliably perform under extreme conditions. Items manufactured using these materials increase safety and productivity while providing energy efficiencies and reducing environmental impact.
Industries integrating epoxy resin composites into their manufacturing – enhancing both the production processes – as well as the products themselves include:
- Automotive – for vehicle body panels and parts to reduce weight, save energy & improve performance
- Aerospace – for reinforcing materials and adding flame retardancy
- Building & Construction – as an adhesive, filler and sealing material
- Marine – used to build & repair decking, hulls and other boating materials
- Electronics & Energy – used to seal & protect components & reinforce structures such as wind turbine blades & solar panels
High-performance materials like epoxy resin composites have become essential building blocks for diverse cross-industry applications. Aside from their practical use in so many sectors, there is also a large research and development arena within business and academia devoted to their continuing development and evolution.