A pool made with new AOC Ecotek resin won Alaglas the 2010 Superior Quality in an Open Molded Part award in the annual ACE Competition of the American Composites Manufacturing Association (ACMA). The award was presented at the ACMA's Composites 2010 trade show in Las Vegas on 9-11 February.
Alaglas has started using EcoTek H460-EKAG polyester resin for the structural segment of its composite pools. This resin is 28% derived from biologically renewable resources and/or recycled materials.
The renewable content in EcoTek H460-EKAG comes from agricultural products such as corn and plant oils. The resin’s recycled content comes from reclaimed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that would otherwise be destined for a landfill and/or from reclaimed glycols that would require diversion into a chemical waste stream.
“This resin makes us a better environmental steward and enhances the pool’s appeal to customers looking to make greener lifestyle decisions,” says Monty Felix, CEO of Alaglas, of St. Matthews, South Carolina, USA.
“The same manufacturing process techniques and equipment were used to seamlessly incorporate the new green resin into our material system,” he continues. “We didn’t have to change a thing. Resin conversion was a simple matter of moving our suction wand out of one drum and into another.”
Alaglas pool construction begins with a sprayed-on, moisture-resistant gel-coat that is backed up with a layer of chopped glass fibres in a Hydropel® H010 vinyl ester resin. This marine grade resin from AOC forms a barrier against moisture intrusion that can cause blisters on the gel-coat surface.
After barrier coat application, AOC EcoTek H460-EKAG resin is used to wet out the glass fibres in three steps that create a structural laminate:
- spray up of chopped glass fibres and resin;
- lay up of resin-impregnated stitched fabric that combines biaxial woven fibreglass cloth with multidirectional strand mat; and
- another sprayed-up layer of chopped fibres and resin.
“The special stitched mat gives us a higher glass-to-resin ratio,” Felix states. “The higher fibre content, the strength distribution of the fabric’s fibre architecture, and the EcoTek resin’s low air entrapment synergise to deliver high structural integrity. Our pools are strong enough to meet some customers’ preference for above-ground installation.”
According to AOC, the mechanical properties of EcoTek H460-EKAG resin are equal to, or better than, those of a conventional resin designed for open-moulded products such as swimming pools. As a result, Alaglas pools made with EcoTek resin are durable enough to be sold with the same 50-year structural warranty that has been offered with pools made with traditional resin.