Gelcoat (/m/065zcw)

Gelcoat is a material used to provide a high-quality finish on the visible surface of a fibre-reinforced composite material. The most common gelcoats are based on epoxy or unsaturated polyester resin chemistry. Gelcoats are modified resins which are applied to moulds in the liquid state. They are cured to form crosslinked polymers and are subsequently backed with composite polymer matrices, often mixtures of polyester resin and fiberglass or epoxy resin with glass. The manufactured component, when sufficiently cured and removed from the mold, presents the gelcoated surface. This is usually pigmented to provide a coloured, glossy surface which improves the aesthetic appearance of the article, such as a counter made with cultured marble. Many marine craft and aircraft are manufactured using composite materials with an outer layer of gelcoat, typically 0.5 mm to 0.8 mm thick. Gelcoats are designed to be durable, providing resistance to ultraviolet degradation and hydrolysis. Specialized gelcoats can be used to manufacture the moulds which in turn are used to manufacture components.
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