In the composites the world, almost all of us use some sort of adhesive or resin in our manufacturing process. Due to this, there is a huge variety of adhesive/resin options available to us.
When desiring to use a different adhesive product on core materials, it is very important to do proper testing before using that new adhesive on the entire process. For this purpose, we provide 6 brief steps to properly test the possible use of a new resin(s) in your manufacturing process:
- Proper Technical Analysis: This applies material properties analysis applies to both; the resins (old and new) and the core material that will be bonded. This step is crucial as it provides you with materials' compatibility pre-analysis and possible chemical reactions that are necessary to ensure safety and reliability. We want to make sure that the new resin will bond the materials in a strong and proper manner for the long-term, so any previous history of material compatibility will be useful in this analysis.
- Bonding Test: Apply some of the new resin to be used on a small area of the core material. The small are could be 4” x 4” or 6” x 6” (you can also apply it to a full piece). The goal here is to see if the new adhesive strongly bonds the core material and observe possible resin absorption issues (to reduce resin absorption, balsa wood core can come in the coated configuration). You can opt to wait for up to 72 hours in this step or next step to see if the bonding was done as intended.
- Environmental Test: Once the product has been bonded properly with the new resin, it is important to test in all the environmental conditions your product could possibly be used. This will give you a better picture on how effective the new resin actually is for your particular application. For example, some resins may not perform well when exposed to water. Some resins may increase the rigidity of the structure, while others increase flexibility. It all comes down to the point of what is the purpose of your application and where will it be exposed.
- Wait 72 Hours (optional): This should be done in case you have had no experience or previous history with the new resin that is being tested and want to observe any possible change or reaction that may not occur immediately; but further on.
- Performance Comparison: This needs to be done between the old and new resin(s) that are being tested. The following questions will help you summarize what needs to be taken into consideration for the sake of comparing what is the most effective resin for you:
- What is the cost difference of the both resins?
- How much resin was used for the same bonding purpose for each resin?
- How strong was the core material bond with each resin?
- How long does it take to cure?
- Was there a difference in performance in different testing environments?
- Last, but not least, multiply the cost of the resins being compared, by the amount of resin needed for the same bonding area and purpose to see which one is lower.
- Decision: If the new intended adhesive performed well on the testing, then it means it is usable. However, if the new proposed adhesive performed even better than previous one and will save you money; it is a no-brainer.
This brief guide should be helpful in your analysis of switching the resin used in your manufacturing process with core materials, considering safety, performance and cost.