Temperature-Controlled Molding

The combination of temperature-controlled infusion tables and a controlled radical polymerization additive for vinyl ester resin makes the infusion of thick laminate stacks in one shot—a relatively worry-free process. These videos of a seminar led by composites consultant Andre Cocquyt at the Maine Advanced Technology Center in Brunswick demonstrate the fabrication potential of infusion tables manufactured by TCM Composites (Augusta, Maine) and the BlocBuilder polymerization control additive from Arkema Inc. (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

The first two clips illustrate the degree to which temperature variation affects the speed of resin infusion, at the same time showing how the table can maintain a 30ºF (18ºC) temperature differential between two laminate stacks that are just inches apart.

The final clip presents the complete infusion of a 6″ (152mm) stack of E-glass plies in less than three minutes. The low viscosity of the warmed resin running through a warmed laminate stack enables rapid infusion, while the BlocBuilder additive keeps the resin from kicking until the temperature is raised above a preset threshold.

For more on this topic, see the article “Process Control Refined” in Professional BoatBuilder No. 125, page 54.