CCP Composites (Kansas City, Mo.) has developed trademarked IMEDGE ECT 120, an in-mold coating based on new polymer technology that sprays like a polyester gel coat and provides the same environmental protection, but actually improves the surface finish. Notably, it enables adhesion to epoxy laminates without a tie coat. The company insists that the new coating — “IM” for in-mold, “EDGE” for cutting-edge technology and “ECT” for epoxy-compatible technology — is not an epoxy gel coat and reportedly offers easier application than the epoxy gel coats developed thus far. Further, it requires no special equipment or handling. Its adhesion to epoxy has been tested by CCP and also by epoxy formulator PRO-SET Inc. (Bay City, Mich). In the PRO-SET test, CCP ArmorPlus 963 gel coat with a POLYCOR tie coat was applied to one panel, and IMEDGE ECT 120 in-mold coating without a tie coat was applied to another. Plies of 1708 glass fiber biaxial fabric mat, wet out with PRO-SET 125 resin/229 hardener, were hand layed at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 24 hours after gel coat was sprayed, totaling five test panels for each of the two systems. An initial adhesion test was followed by accelerated environmental exposure testing for degradation of the coating-to-laminate bond with in-service conditions. Joe Parker, PRO-SET product manager, summarizes the test results: “The ECT 120 coating/PRO-SET epoxy combination had fiber tear and no interfacial failure with every pull throughout all of the environmental cycles and is recommended as a coating that is compatible with PRO-SET epoxy.”
Reports from customers reportedly indicate that the coating performs as advertised. Walrus Kayaks (Winooski, Vt.) indicates that elimination of the tie coat has reduced part weight by more than 12 percent, and labor has been cut by 20 percent because of the elimination of postmold painting of epoxy hulls. In SYBO Composites’ (St. Augustine, Fla.) recent trials of ECT 120 on the Islamorada 18 high-performance flat boat (pictured) for Chittum Skiffs (St. Augustine, Fla.), the material was successfully sprayed like a standard gel coat, using the same equipment and procedures, with a weight reduction closer to 20 percent. SYBO predicts it will reduce epoxy construction cost to a level near that of vinyl ester and polyester. The coating also is in use by Hodgdon Defense Composites (Portland, Maine) on Jet Ski military rescue craft and by two helmet manufacturers, one military and one recreational.