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Materials Moulds for reinforced plastics made lighter, cheaper

Editor: Eric Culp

A metal coating can create moulds for carbon- and fibreglass-reinforced plastics from a range of substrates, according to its supplier.

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Spray-on metal can create thin surfaces on moulds for fibre-reinforced plastics. Here, the process has been used to make a mould for a motorboat hull.
Spray-on metal can create thin surfaces on moulds for fibre-reinforced plastics. Here, the process has been used to make a mould for a motorboat hull.
(Source: VeroMetal)

VeroMetal said the company's FormProtect coatings are being used successfully for manufacturing moulds for fibre-reinforced components (CFRP, GFRP-components). The process seamlessly applies metal to almost any surface via cold spraying or with the application of a putty-type product.

Creating a metal surface on nearly any substrate

The coatings can be used to treat almost any substrate, the supplier claimed. The first step of the process is to apply the material, which can be done with a conventional paint spray gun. Once an item is coated with the material, the treated surface is said to take on all the characteristics of high-grade metals concerning impact resistance and abrasion. When compared to the conventional plastic coating systems, the product reportedly has much better edge strength and abrasion resistance. Treated moulds are claimed to have superior service life compared to conventional moulds coated strictly with plastics. When compared with galvanic coatings, the layered metal coatings are much less expensive, according to the supplier.

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The adhesion between the VeroMetal FormProtect topcoat and the laminated layers underneath is said to be excellent for both heated as well as non-heated moulds. Heat resistance is quoted at up to ca. 150C, and the company said the coating creates moulds with uniform temperature distribution.

The good spraying properties of VeroMetal allow for very homogenous and thin topcoats, the supplier noted. These topcoats have shown less vulnerability to micro-cracks, which can occur from tension between the different layers. Such tension can be created by the different thermal expansion coefficients of CFRP moulds and topcoats.

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