A gel coat powder lowers the composite curing time up to 80% and minimizes VOC emissions

CIDETEC is taking part in the European ECOGEL CRONOS project, with the aim of obtaining a new high productivity composite manufacturing process that reduces the emission of volatile organic compounds.

The European Cronos Ecogel project in which CIDETEC is taking part, aims to develop an innovative and ecological high productivity RTM process that not only improves the current composite curing times but also the quality of the pieces. The following video clearly illustrates the problems addressed by the project and the objectives set out as well as the expected benefits:




The project, launched in September 2013, has focused on the development and manufacturing of new quick curing powder gel coat for material composite parts. By means of the development carried out to date production times have already been dramatically reduced and styrene emissions in the workplace minimized. Specifically, we have obtained a gel coat powder for final finishing which lowers the curing time up to 80% when compared to conventional liquid alternatives. Likewise, a priming gel coat with electric conductivity reduces the curing time by half when compared to conventional methods. This new gel coat has the additional advantage that it eliminates the need for additional steps in the priming process. We are currently working on the validation of the developed technologies, for which we have selected two demonstrators: a piece of a tractor and a car door. At the same time we are currently working on developing moulds for composite parts, where the laminated carbon fibre will take on a dual role, acting both as structural reinforcement and as heating element in the mould so as to provide a completely homogeneous heating surface.


13 European organizations are taking part in the project: AIMPLAS, ECOINNOVA and CIDETEC in Spain, Composite Integration, AXON, FAR UK, and NetComposites from UK, CLERIUM from Holland, Indupol International NV from Belgium, Xstream engineering from Luxembourg, the University of Bielefeld (FHBI) in Germany, Ketek in Finland, Megara in Greece and Steel Belt Systems Powder Coating Division (SBS) from Italy.