Fiberglass is a popular material used in boat hulls, sports equipment and industrial tanks. When you need fiberglass tank repair, it isn’t always just as easy as melding two pieces together. You have to be concerned with the adhesion, the surface and contaminants, and the type of bond needed to hold the pieces together.
Understanding Primary and Secondary Bonds
Bonds are the holds between elements that hold them together. In general science, you learn about these bonds. Primary bonds are those in which electrons are shared, such as NaCl or salt. A primary bond in fiberglass tanks establishes a chemical bond between two pieces. Essentially, it means that the two items are joined in a way that makes them super strong.
In science, secondary bonds rely on dipole attractions, kind of like magnets in which positive and negative forces attract. Relating this to fiberglass, secondary bonds would be those that require adhesive to bond two surfaces together instead of creating a chemical bond. The bond can be strong, but more easily broken than a primary bond.
When you’re working with fiberglass, knowing the type of bond you’re repairing ensures that the piece can withstand the same amount of stress after its repair. Working with secondary bonds when making tank leak repairs can be tricky. You want to do it right the first time to prevent future issues and to avoid wasting time, effort and materials.
Fiberglass Repair Relies on Secondary Bonds
When making repairs to tank liners or other fiberglass parts, it’s important to create secondary bonds that hold up under the right conditions. Here are some considerations:
- Where is the damage? You may see the damage on one side of the fiberglass, forgetting that the damage can be on both sides of the fiberglass, not only the impact side. Always do a thorough inspection to know exactly what needs to be repaired.
- What was the previous mechanical bond? When the mechanical bond is damaged, it needs to be removed before making repairs. The new adhesion may not work effectively when applied over damaged laminate. Repairs need to mimic the original bond as close as possible.
- Is the surface prepared correctly? Fiberglass repairs aren’t only about the adhesive, but about the surface you’re applying the adhesive to. The surface can be damaged in making repairs if you don’t use care to prevent it. Solvents and heat from a sander can create more problems with a repair when overdone.
You’ll also need to choose the right adhesive bonding agents and know how to use it to get the most effective repair.
Repairing fiberglass can keep your infrastructure intact for many years, but all repairs must be conducted by professionals who understand the hazards of ineffective fixes. Your fiberglass tanks are not indestructible, but they can be repaired to keep them in good condition.
Picon FRP, Inc. – Fiberglass Repair and Tank Coating Specialists
Picon FRP is ready to provide FULL service on-site inspection, maintenance, fabrication, and fiberglass repair services. Call today or send us a message to discuss your project needs.