Tag Archives: Rachael Geerts

Water beading on a bright finish topcoat.

The Art of Choosing a Topcoat

By Rachael Geerts – GBI Composites Materials Engineer

You’ve just finished your epoxy project and it looks great! But you don’t want the sun’s UV rays to start degrading the epoxy. So, like the smart individual you are, you look into applying a UV stable topcoat over the epoxy so your project will last for years to come. You look at your options, go down a few rabbit holes, and come out much later asking why is it so difficult to select a UV stable topcoat for my epoxy project? Continue reading

Sample of a carbon fiber/Kevlar laminate affected by abrasion. The left side is unaffected where as the right side has been abraded. Note the fraying from the Kevlar fibers.

Improving Impact and Abrasion Resistance

By Rachael Geerts – Composites Materials Engineer

What is the difference between abrasion and impact? What materials hold up best against each of them? These questions often come up when talking about skid plates. Skid plates are a protective layer, typically on canoes and kayaks, that reinforces the areas of the hull most likely to suffer damage from abrasion and impact. Continue reading

average multiple layers applied by hand lay-up

Laminate Repair: Infusion vs. Wet-Bag

By Rachael Geerts – GBI Technical Advisor

Many products, especially boats, are now being manufactured with a process called Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM), also frequently referred to as infusion. The main topics of this article are: what infusion is, how to repair an infused part with vacuum bagging vs. infusion, and the results of our study comparing a vacuum-bagged repaired laminate and an infused repaired laminate. Continue reading

Epoxy casting can be done in many colors and depths

Casting Epoxy

By Rachael Geerts

Casting epoxy is really catching on. Live edge tables with bright centers, clear coasters with stones, wood, or shells intricately placed, or even beautiful jewelry can be made with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. With so many people venturing into using epoxy this way, I will address common questions about casting depth, colorants, bubble removal, and finishing. Continue reading

A typical vacuum bag setup

Vacuum Bagging Basics

By Rachael Geerts – Technical Advisor

Featured image (above): A typical vacuum bagging setup.

What is vacuum bagging?

Vacuum bagging is when a composite that is laid up and wet out by hand is then put under vacuum to compact the laminate and force out excess epoxy. Vacuum bagging has been a choice method of manufacturing and repairing composites for a long time. Continue reading

Rachael Geertz, Winona Composites Engineering Grad

Winona State University Composite Materials Engineering Program

By Rachael Geerts

Here is an inside snapshot of how the composites materials world is growing at my alma mater, Winona State University. Located in Winona, Minnesota, this university has the only accredited four-year undergraduate program for composite materials engineering in the US. Through this program, students learn the fundamentals of engineering while investigating different materials. This program challenges students both academically and creatively. Students are encouraged to ask questions and strive for a deeper understanding of why things are done the way they are done. From this, they can explore how things can be improved.

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Welcome Victoria Hankins

Welcome

2018 has been a year of growth and change here at Gougeon Brothers. Our Technical Department welcomes three new staff members.

Welcome Victoria Hankins

Laboratory Technician (Photo above)

Victoria has an Associates degrees from Delta College in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Fine Arts, Liberal Arts, as well as certificates in CNC and CAD. During her schooling she was the lead lab tech at Delta College for the photography and ceramics labs, then later worked at Aptar as an Elastomeric Flow Control Expert Center intern. Continue reading