decreases the pot life and wastes resin.Pot Life for thin film: More representative of time available to wet out laminate and bag if required. 100 gram mass potlife is representative of a small batch mix according to the resin manufactures. Actual pot lives are even less thenspecified when thixotropics are used. Thixotropics include micro balloons, flox, Cab-O-Sil and chopped carbon fibers.Gel Time: Similar to pot life; resin is too thick to wet out fibers once gelled.Cured Hardness, Shore D: Cured resin can be hardness tested to assure full cure. When making a part it is importantto save the left over epoxy in order to test the cure.Glass Transition Temperature (Tg): Maximum temperature at which resin properties diminish appreciably, sometimesreferred to the resins "red line" temperature. When a cured polymer is heated, vast changes in thermal and mechanicalproperties occur. These changes are particularly large near the glass transition temperature, Tg. Below the Tg, thepolymer is hard and glassy, and above the Tg it has a rubbery state. At this temperature, tensile strength, hardness,electrical properties and chemical resistance depreciate rapidly, while tensile elongation and flexibility increasemarkedly. Tg usually occurs over a range of temperature, but for simplicity a single temperature is selected as Tg.Heat Deflection Temperature (HDT): Temperature at which the resin begins to soften but still has good structuralproperties. The deflection temperature is commonly used as approximation of Tg. The method for measuring DT hasbeen standardized by ASTM. The DT is determined on a casting which has been permanently stressed at (264 psi) byflexural loading and then heated at a constant rate until the casting deforms a specified amount. The DT method usuallyrequires a larger sample than Tg methods.DT's and Tg's provide a measure of crosslink density of the polymer. Those polymers with higher DT's have higher crosslink densities, better performance at elevated temperatures and generally better solvent and chemical resistance.The choice of curing agent and the cure cycle (degree of cure of the polymer) are the largest factors affecting DT. Youwould want a higher Tg resin on a tuned pipe than on a wheel pant.Notch Sensitivity (Izod Impact): A measure of the resin's brittleness. A water ski would require a resin that is a littlemore flexible than a model airplane propeller blade. A plasticizer can be added to make the resin tougher and lessprone to fracture.Post Cure: The manufacture's recommended elevated temperature cure cycle to be used to attain the best materialproperties. Post cures either follow a room temperature cure or an intermediate temperature oven cure for oven curematerials. Free standing post cures are typically successful if a gradual ramp up in temperature is used. High-tempassembly fixtures are required if a free-standing post cure cannot be accomplished.Peak exotherm, Fahrenheit: An indication of a resin's likelihood to exotherm uncontrollably. The chance of exothermcan be reduced by limiting mix batches to small quantities, proper disposal of leftover resin, and knowing your resinsproperties (testing). Exotherm is a term used to describe the internal heat generated by the cross linking of the resin tothe hardener. On some resin hardener combinations a 50 gram mass is great enough to melt a plastic cup andbecome hot enough to burn your skin. Larger quantities create a fire hazard.Resin "Physicals" Include: Density, Hardness, Viscosity, Elongation, CTE or coefficient of thermal expansion, Tg, HDT,Pot life, Mix Ratio, Color, Peak Exotherm, Shrinkage, Izod Impact and others.
Carbon FibersCarbon fibers, Though known since Thomas Edison's development of the incandescent light in the 1870s, were notmade in large quantities until the late 1960s. At that time it was found that carbonizing several fibrous materialsresulted in a continuous fiber with relatively low density and high Young's modulus of elasticity. Modulus of elasticity is aparameter indicating a material's stiffness. Young must have been the one who came up with a mathematical way tomeasure this. High modulus materials are stiffer than low modulus materials.Fiber Sizing
Sizing are added to fiberglass and carbon fiber to aid in processing and to allow the resin a better bond tothe fiber. Silane coupling agents are a used as adhesion promoters. While the sizing helps in the processing of fibersthey can hinder wet out of the fabric or tow. Carbon fiber sizing must be applied to the fiber tow (which may consist of 12,000 filaments of more) to prevent the individual filaments from contact damage between themselves or with eyeletsor guides during weaving or prepreging. When using tow to manufacture propellers and bellcranks it was necessary tomassage the tow in order to loosen the sizing for better wet out. The thing to remember when ordering carbon fiber andfiber glass is that the sizing is compatible with the type of resin you are using. Some sizings in the fiber glass industryare for polyester only but most sizings are for both epoxy and polyester resins. One can obtain a discount on fiberglasswith expired sizing when ordering from the mills in large quantities.If you have ever handled carbon tow in the raw state without sizing it is very soft. Fabricators rely on its tensile strengthfor the parts rigidity. It is of great importance to keep the fibers in line with the loads being applied to it for the beststrength properties. Even the crimp in a carbon tow that allows the tow to be woven into a cloth weakens the material.This is why unidirectional carbon lay-ups tend to be the strongest. While talking to Hiroshi Kiyomoto who fabricatedKaz Minato's carbon wing of his latest Blue Max at last years Nationals he stated that he used unidirectional carbon in