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Materials Selection Guide Final Version

Materials Selection Guide Final Version

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Published by: Muhammad Riaz, 0092-333-5592619 on Sep 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide is the workhorse initiator system. It is generally the easiest to use,
especially in adverse conditions. It provides excellent curing performance, and responds well to post-

MEKP is activated by DMA, or other strong base, and cure is further promoted by cobalt naphthenate,
cobalt octoate or other cobalt solutions at room temperature. The percentage of each component
determines the gelation time of the resin. Gelation or gel time is usually defined as the time lapse in
minutes between the addition of the catalyst to the liquid resin and the point at which the liquid resin
becomes gelatinous.

In preparing catalyzed resin for a fabrication, the gel time is the maximum working time allowed to
complete the task. Generally, most resins will require 0.3-1.0% of cobalt naphthenate, 0.1-0.3% DMA
and 1.0-1.5% of MEKP to obtain a gel time of 30-40 minutes. To obtain faster gelation characteristics,
it is usually more effective to add additional DMA or cobalt naphthenate solution to the resin, but in
some cases, excessive amounts will retard cure. Always refer to the product bulletins which give cure

Because working life will vary from resin to resin, gel and cure tables are provided for each resin to
obtain precise times. Temperatures also have a pronounced influence on gel time. Catalyst systems
providing 30-40 minutes at 70o

F may only allow 20-25 minutes at 80o

F, so it is important to check the
resin gel time at the working temperature before starting a fabrication. The addition of 0.1% of DMA to
the resin will greatly speed gel and cure rate, and Barcol readings usually will be registered in under
two hours.


It is important to note that cobalt solutions and DMA should not be mixed together before being added
to the resin; they should be added to the resin separately and mixed in thoroughly. MEKP is not
activated by DMA alone, so if the cobalt naphthenate is not added to the resin, no gelation or cure will
occur. MEKP must always be added to the resin as the last component and dispersed, preferably with a
propeller-type mixer.

Warning: Care must be taken to avoid direct mixing of any organic peroxide with metal soaps
(such as cobalt naphthenate), amines (such as DMA) or any other polymerization
accelerator or promoter, as violent decomposition will result!

Accelerators and promoters should be used with caution to avoid undesirable cure problems. Excessive
levels of cobalt naphthenate may tend to cause foaming and extended cure rates. Higher levels of DMA
will increase exothermic heat generated as the resin cures and may cause scorching, warpage and fiber
whitening in thick laminate sections.

While Cobalt Naphthenate and DMA are already added to pre-accelerated resins, in some cases, e.g.
unusually hot or cold fabrication conditions, the fabricator may wish to increase the amounts. In some
cases, resins are supplied free of accelerators and promoters and the fabricator must add them.

Generally, levels of addition of each component should be within the following ranges:

Cobalt Naphthenate 0.3-1.0 phr* (%)

DMA 0.1-0.3 phr (%)

MEKP 1.0-1.5 phr (%)

*per hundred parts of resin by weight

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