Testing, testing, 123
By Julie VanMullekom
By now most of you know that we [West System] are the manufacturers
of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. But you may not know what is
involved in the manufacturing and more specifically, the
formulating of WEST SYSTEM. It's not just slapping some
chemicals together and then packaging it up into a pretty
box. To date we have performed thousands of tests, generating
thousands of test results. I spend large chunks of
my days entering all of this data into our database and I
am eternally amazed at all of the time, effort and testing
that goes into making our products. Because of that, I
am going to take you on a short but sweet journey into
the world of Gougeon Brothers testing and I believe you
too will be amazed. Please keep in mind that all of these
tests, which are only a few of the many, are performed
right here within our very own walls.
ABS Plastic to Ziricote The range of substrates that undergo
This test determines how well our products adhere to all
different types of substrates. Using a pneumatic tensile
test instrument (PATTI meter) a load is increasingly applied
to the surface of a substrate until a stud, fastened
with epoxy, is pulled off. The force of this action yields
the tensile strength in pounds per square inch. To date
we have logged in 2,000+ adhesion tests.
60,000,000± The number of cycles our MTS test machine
has generated performing annular shear testing.
This test helps us determine the epoxy formulation's fatigue
resistance, allowing us to see which materials can
best withstand the rigors of repeated stress caused by repetitive
load cycles. The specimens tested consist of a
2.0" diameter epoxy annulus (cast in a cylindrical aluminum
mold) around a central threaded ¾" - 3" steel rod.
During each test, the load is repeated many thousands of
times. After some number of cycles, the epoxy material
either deforms or cracks until it can no longer sustain the
steel post in its original position. The test is over when
the post has been displaced downward one-tenth of an
inch. This lets us rank epoxy formulations on the basis of
how many cycles they can withstand at a standard peak
load level, or on the basis of the magnitude of the peak
load required to produce failure after a standard number
Entire length of a professional football field The combined
length of all the test cylinders we have tested in
Performed with the MTS test machine, this test determines
the behavior of the epoxy under crushing loads.
The specimens we crush in this test are approximately
1½" long cylinders of solid epoxy. The machine compresses
them at various loads. We record the peak load
required to cause epoxy failure.
40,000± The days of destruction our QUV Accelerated
Weathering Test Machine has logged in, satisfactorily
destroying over 300 test samples.
The QUV test machine produces cycles of UV light, condensation
and temperature changes that mimic the environment
but at an accelerated rate, it lets us foresee the
level of environmental degradation that would take place
over time. If you'd like to read more in depth about the
QUV process see Epoxyworks 28 for a super article.
Much, much more! Other tests performed in-house:
Chemical Resistance, Creep Rupture, Cure Profile,
Hydromat Panel, Lap Shear, Moisture Exclusion, Moisture
Uptake, Sandability, Specific Gravity, Tensile
Strength, Viscosity and Wet Out.
I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes tour of our
test facility here at Gougeon Brothers, where we torture
and break stuff to develop and maintain the excellence
of our WEST SYSTEM product line.
Epoxyworks 29 / Fall 2009
Copyright © 2009, Gougeon Brothers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, is expressly forbidden without the consent of the publisher. EPOXYWORKS, Gougeon Brothers, WEST SYSTEM, Episize, Scarffer and Microlight as used throughout this publication, are trademarks of Gougeon Brothers, Inc., Bay City, Michigan, USA.