Frequently Asked Questions
What is SOLAREZ®?
SOLAREZ® repair putty is a mixture of high-strength, fiber reinforced polyester resin and an amazing solar-activated catalyst. There is no mixing required, just use it straight from the tube. SOLAREZ® quickly and durably repairs fiberglass, plastics, wood and metal in minutes.
Do I need to add fiberglass to a repair job?
No. Chop-strand fiberglass is evenly dispersed throughout the SOLAREZ® putty. This type of reinforcement provides better strength when repairing chips, dents and gouges because more fibers get into the ding and they align themselves in multiple directions. For large, shallow jobs (in excess of one square foot) we recommend the use of SOLAREZ® laminating resin in conjunction with fiberglass cloth. For patching good-sized holes where there is no backing, try our convenient SOLAREZ® pre-preg patch. It's a Solarez- impregnated patch of fiberglass cloth for ultra-quick field repairs. This was used in "Operation Desert Storm".
If SOLAREZ® only takes 45 seconds to gel, will I have to rush my repair job?
SOLAREZ® quickly hardens but only when exposed to direct sunlight. In the shade, you have all the time you need to put the goop where you want it and to remove excess bubbles.
Can the chemical reaction be stopped?
Unlike dangerous M.E.K.P. catalyst, whose reaction proceeds irreversibly and sometimes catastrophically forward, SOLAREZ® ' can be interrupted at any time. Simply remove it from sunlight. When it is replaced into sunlight again, the reaction will resume. You may take advantage of this feature for making clean trims when the resin has reached its "gel-stage", roughly 45 seconds in good sunlight.
What if it's not a very sunny day?
Anything better than dense fog will work fine. Very weak, hazy sun may take as long as 30 minutes to cure SOLAREZ®.
Does heat or cold affect the SOLAREZ® reaction?
No. And this is a tremendous advantage over conventional M.E.K.P. catalyzed resins which barely even work at temperatures below 60°F and are dangerous over 85°F. On the other hand, SOLAREZ® works just as fast in scorching heat or freezing cold.
Is sunlight the only way to make SOLAREZ® harden?
If there is absolutely no sun available, or you need to do repairs indoors, a tanning lamp which uses the relatively safe "UV-A" bulbs will work quite effectively. Just be certain to exercise caution with the ultraviolet light - like sunlight, it is harmful to your eyes. Closely follow the lamp manufacturer's precautions.
Does SOLAREZ® contain any harmful chemicals?
Just like other adhesives, resins and common reagents, SOLAREZ® contains chemicals which are not desirable for bodily contact or prolonged exposure. According to our directions, placing a piece of clear plastic over the repair site will keep your fingers clean, reduce fumes and provide a smoother, bubble-free (stronger) repair. Use SOLAREZ® with adequate ventilation and if you absolutely must handle the resin, exercise common sense, WEAR GLOVES.
Are there materials that SOLAREZ® will not repair?
Styrofoam will be dissolved by some formulations of SOLAREZ®. It will be clearly labeled on the tube if the formula will or will not work for polystyrene. Polyethylene and Polypropylene are difficult to bond to and they may require a good sanding in order to improve mechanical bonding. Some metals may be tainted an invisible layer of corrosion which too will impair adhesion. Make certain that all materials to be repaired are clean, dry and free of any waxes or grease.
What is the shelf-life of Solarez®?
When stored at room temperature (72°F), Solarez Epoxy has a shelf-life of about 5 years; Solarez Polyester, about 2 years, Solarez Microlite, about 1-1/2 years and Solarez Extreme, about 1 year. All products’ shelf-life decrease with increasing storage temperature and conversely with decreased storage temperature. Storing tubes in a closed car, where temperature may reach over 180°F may kill a tube in one day.
How do I increase the shelf-life of Solarez®?
Storing tubed products (putties) at lower temperatures will certainly help. Refrigeration is not necessary but certainly will prolong the life of the product. Liquid Solarez' (eg pints, quarts) shelf-life can easily be increased by opening the lid monthly and allowing fresh air to circulate in the dead-space of the can. If the level of the liquid is high (little dead-space) the shelf-life will decrease. The reason is that the resin’s inhibitors need atmospheric oxygen to function. They "suffocate" over time if not given air. Storing in a bare steel can will dramatically shorten shelf-life too because metals act as a catalyst to curing. We generally sell Solarez in [inert] plastic containers or epoxy/phenolic-lined metal containers.
What is the difference between laminating, sanding and glossing resin?
[Pure] "Conventional" polyester resin was designed to cure tacky on the surface so that subsequent layers (laminates) can bond well --the reason why is because atmospheric oxygen inhibits the curing of polyester resin so the surface remains tacky. Paraffin wax can be added to the resin of a capping coat such as sanding resin in order to allow it to cure dry. As the resin cures, the wax rises to the surface and "suffocates" the resin. Glossing resin contains both wax and a thickening or no-sag agent (cabosil) added. This allows the resin to cure dry and in thicker coats without running off the edges.
This was the case with all [MEKP] conventionally-catalyzed resins. However with Solarez, the UV-curing agent is much stronger than MEKP catalyst and can cure bone-dry even without the addition of a suffocating wax. This is beneficial because wax can taint the bond of a resin to the substrate. If you want to cure Solarez tacky so that subsequent layers and be added, simply cure it for a shorter period of time (such as 1-1/2 minutes) and the surface will be tacky and ready for good bonding of a subsequent laminate. If you want the resin to cure bone-dry so that it sands easily without gumming sand pads, simply cure it completely (about 3 minutes) in good sunlight or artificial UV light source.
Can I pigment Solarez®?
Yes, to a degree. Most any color (except black) may be added in moderation. Reds should be avoided or used sparingly. The idea here is light transmission. If light cannot penetrate the resin, it cannot cure it. So, if you want a thick (>1/8”) pigmented section, add 1% MEKP catalyst to your batch, this will allow the surface to cure by UV reaction. The resin will exotherm (heat up) and cause the underlying resin to cure faster than normal by the MEKP catalyst component.
Can I thin Solarez®?
You may thin Solarez very simply by heating it in a paper cup for a few seconds in a microwave oven. (microwave ovens vary widely in strength so check your resin every 5 seconds to see that it doesn't’t get too hot --hotter than drinkable coffee 130°F). This Solarez cannot have any MEKP catalyst in it!!! At this temperature, Solarez will be as thin as water and can instantly wet out fiberglass cloth. As soon as you pour out your resin onto a cool substrate, it will return to normal viscosity. If on the other hand, you want to add a thinning agent, you can add a little styrene monomer. It is not advised to add any more than 3% because adding styrene will soften the surface and cause premature yellowing. The adding of acetone or alcohol should be entirely avoided because these are not reactive diluents i.e. they do not become incorporated into the resin like styrene, they just boil out and cause pinholes.
What Solarez® product will work on Styrofoam?
Only Solarez EPOXY (blue tube) will work on Styrofoam. Solarez polyester contains styrene monomer and will melt the Styrofoam. Even EXTREME (vinyl ester epoxy) contains styrene and can not be used directly on Styrofoam. It is possible however, to put a thin sealer coating of Solarez epoxy onto the Styrofoam, cure it, and then subsequently coat with whichever resin you elect, such as the durable Solarez vinyl ester. This is an excellent way to get around the obstacle of expensive resins to coat Styrofoam.
What Solarez® product is best for PWC or Snowmobile or Snowboard?
Solarez EXTREME (vinyl ester) has the best adhesion and best strength of all Solarez products. It is the resin of choice for difficult-to-bond substrates such as sheet molding compound (SMC) used on personal watercraft or olefin-containing thermoplastics like on motorcycle fairings and snowmobiles.
What is best Solarez® product to repair polyethylene?
Polyethylene (PE) is the semi-firm, flexible plastic that is widely used on off-road vehicle fenders, boogie boards and other aquatic toys. There is also another polyethylene manufacturing process (roto-molding) used to make low-cost, super-tough aquatic sports equipment such as kayaks, surf/sailboards and others that are heavy, fair in performance but practically bullet-proof. These equipment rarely break or ding but when they do, require finesse in repair because not much of anything sticks to them. Solarez EXTREME can be used on roto-molded items but the surface needs to be sanded and flame-treated first: use the blue flame of a butane lighter to burn the plastic for a few seconds – this will oxidize the polyethylene and make it react better. To repair the super-flexible PE fenders, we recommend our product “Sponge-Rez” that does not cure by UV light but has amazing adhesion and cures incredibly tough and flexible.
What Solarez® product is best for casting parts?
What is "pot-life" and how do UV-cure resins rate?
When you use a conventional 2-part resin system, once the resin and catalyst are mixed, it starts the timer that says when the resin will cure. When the resin is sitting in a "pot" with high sides so that the resin is located in relatively one mass, it will harden quicker than if it was spilled out in a thin layer over a large area. The term "pot-life" refers to the amount of time the resin will remain liquid while in a "pot." This is the usable, spreadable, or workable time of the resin.
Pot-lives range from a few short minutes to a good two hours in 2-part systems. The problem exists sometimes that the resin will cure whether you are ready for it to cure or not. Sometimes the reaction can be violent because as the resin cures, it gives off heat, further accelerating the adjacent resin molecules, giving off more heat and creating a cyclic feedback like reverb that can chain-react into flames. UV cure resins have a virtually "open" pot life. They simply will not cure at all...until they are exposed to UV-light (they are unaffected by room-light). This is a tremendous asset to the "workability" of the resin because it will stay liquid until the precise time that you tell it to cure by irradiating it with a UV light source. On the other hand when they do cure, they cure in seconds. Furthermore, the curing can even be stopped at any point simply by cutting off the UV light source, making the curing system 100% controlled by you. See diagram below:
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