Epoxy brands can vary widely in their formulations, quality of raw materials and their suitability for marine environments. It's easy to market an off-the-shelf industrial epoxy product as a marine epoxy, or formulate an epoxy with one or two favorable characteristics, while sacrificing other important characteristics.
It's much more difficult balancing all of the physical and mechanical properties necessary for a versatile, high-quality marine epoxy. (performance diagram) Defining an epoxy's performance criteria, and designing a formula to meet those criteria requires good chemistry, rigorous test programs, skillful shop work and direct experience with today's high-performance boats and other composite structures.
WEST SYSTEM epoxy is designed for boatbuilding and repair by experienced builders and formulators who know the engineering and the chemistry required for today's high-performance composite structures. During more than thirty years of developing marine epoxies, we have continued to formulate, test and improve WEST SYSTEM resin and hardeners to create the most reliable and well balanced epoxy system available today.
Potential resin and hardener formulas, ingredients and combinations are tested to compare fatigue strength, compression strength, glass transition temperature, and peak exotherm. Additionally, qualified samples are tested for hardness, tensile strength, tensile elongation, tensile modulus, flexural strength, flexural modulus, heat deflection temperature, impact resistance and moisture exclusion effectiveness. Thorough testing such as this insures that any change in a formula will improve one or more of a product's characteristics without diminishing any characteristics.
Good science and comprehensive testing are essential for the development of improved epoxy formulations, and for the development of better construction and repair methods. In addition to the tests conducted to support in-house product development, the materials test lab also conducts testing to support outside builders, designers, and government organizations in the engineering of epoxy composite structures.
Aside from a battery of standard ASTM tests, Gougeon Brothers has developed new testing methods to evaluate adhesives and composites. Some of these tests have become industry standards. The Hydromat Panel Test is a patented test that uses one of the lab's two MTS™ test machines to simulate the pressure loads a section of a hull would endure in a lifetime on the water. (Hydromat photo) In 1999, the American Society for Testing and Materials approved the Hydromat test as an official ASTM standard (D6416). Designers and builders around the world use this unique testing program to evaluate various combinations of sandwich composite materials and epoxy formulations and ultimately build lighter, stronger, safer structures.
The information provided by a comprehensive test program, along with our own building experience, and feedback from our customers contributes to a data base on epoxies and epoxy composites that has been growing for over thirty years. This knowledge is invaluable, not only for achieving the proper balance of properties required for a versatile, high-quality marine epoxy, it assures that the building and repair information provided by Gougeon Brothers is up-to-date and reliable. When professionals and nonprofessionals need answers, they know our information is based on good science and real data, not on exaggerated or misleading marketing claims.
To help you make the most of WEST SYSTEM epoxy's balanced performance and versatility, Gougeon Brothers provides you with one other important ingredient-knowledge. Whether your project is large or small, WEST SYSTEM technical publications and videos offered in this guide provide detailed procedures and instructions for specific repair and construction applications. Further assistance can be obtained by writing or calling our Technical Staff.
We are always interested in your views and welcome suggestions about our products and service. We encourage you to call or write with comments on WEST SYSTEM Brand products and their use.
WEST SYSTEM epoxy products are available from quality marine chandleries and hardware stores worldwide. Use the Where To Buy function to locate a WEST SYSTEM dealer near you.