Basic Techniques

Cold Weather Bonding

Cold Weather Bonding

“What’s the lowest temperature WEST SYSTEM Epoxy can be applied?” By Don Gutzmer WEST SYSTEM Inc, USA

During cold weather, this is a common question our Technical Advisors are asked. Fortunately, it’s one we’re well equipped to answer. Gougeon Brothers, Inc. got its start in the world of DN Iceboat racing. Both Meade and Jan Gougeon have won multiple DN cup races worldwide. It’s not unusual for an iceboat to need repairs mid-regatta, so part of the discipline of iceboat racing is getting epoxy to cure despite cold working environments. The trick is using strategies that bring epoxy temperatures up to adequate cure levels in cold working environments.

The ambient temperature in which an epoxy chemical reaction takes place impacts on the rate of the reaction. Warmer temperatures accelerate the reaction, while cooler temperatures retard the reaction time. It is the duration of the reaction which, among other variables, will lead to complete or incomplete bonding of the epoxy molecules. Improperly cured epoxy may possess enough strength to hold the structure together, yet it may fail after being subjected to repeated loading during normal operations.

Cold Weather Storage

It is best to store WEST SYSTEM materials above 2°C with the container caps screwed down tightly to avoid moisture contamination. The containers can be stored with the 300 Mini Pumps left on them. After a long storage, verify the metering accuracy of the pumps. Repeated freeze/thaw cycles of the 105 Resin may cause crystallization. However, the formation of crystals does not permanently harm the epoxy, and they can be dissolved easily. Place the open containers in water warmed to 52°-60°C and let the resin come up in temperature. Stir the resin with a clean stick until all the crystals have melted and the liquid becomes clear.

Remove from the water, replace the lids tightly and invert the container to melt any crystals which may be clinging to the top of the container. If the resin has crystallized inside the mini pump, pumping warm resin through it should dissolve them. Leaving the pump in the can while heating should clear the pump, too. With a little advanced planning, and observing the precautions listed above, you can get WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to cure reliably in cold working conditions. Since the 1970s we’ve been using these techniques to assure dependable epoxy bonds throughout our frigid Michigan winters.

When using WEST SYSTEM epoxy at low temperatures, special precautions can be taken to assure maximum performance.

Leaders in Marine Epoxy

Developed specifically for boat building, boat repairs and the marine industry, and internationally marketed for over 50 years

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