Gelcoat – The Shiny Armor on Knightly Composites

Gelcoats are shiny protective coats applied on the surfaces of composite materials to shield the latter from chemical, environmental, and physical stresses. Gelcoats can be composed in a variety of resin chemistries. Epoxy and unsaturated polyester resins are the most commonly used chemicals for making gelcoats.

Gelcoats are Molded on the Composites

Gelcoats are usually applied by pouring the comprising materials in their liquid state onto the mold of the article to be coated. The molten material in the mold is then cured in order for it to take the necessary shape and texture. The layer thickness and density of the gelcoat is determined as per the necessity of their application and the usage of the article. Gelcoats can be made very tough and abrasion resistant in order for them to be used as molds.

Market Scenario

Gelcoats are a relatively new product, but are being readily adopted in the market owing to the several benefits offered by them. Gelcoats are applied on counters made of marbles and tiles to give them a glossy finish. The gelcoat can be pigmented to improve the aesthetic appeal of the coated article. Gelcoats are also used to cover the composite materials used in aircrafts and marine crafts to provide protection against degradation from UV and hydrolysis in highly saline waters, respectively. Products with gelcoats are witnessing a trend of ready adoption by buyers as they can be repaired and refinished. Major markets for gelcoats include the furniture, marine, and aircraft manufacturing industries. Demand from the automotive industry, although small, is anticipated to rise, especially for high-performance vehicles and those used in harsh environments to maintain their aesthetic appeal. In addition to industrial application, gelcoats can be used directly by the consumers themselves, as they are easy to apply. The do-it-yourself instructions are available for consumers, with the product being sold mostly at marine and hardware stores.

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