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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..
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Thread: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem.. Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-08-2013 11:18 PM
Maine Sail
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaten View Post
The hatch does have cross bars. It is a "Gray Enterprises", now owned by Bomar. Nothing current is listed as fitting this one of some 33 years old. The hatch seems like it might be one of the reinforced poly-whatevers like Zytel??
Your hatch was most likely intended for polycarb so you should be fine.

I'd still use Dow 795 or SG-4000
03-08-2013 10:45 PM
deltaten
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

The hatch does have cross bars. It is a "Gray Enterprises", now owned by Bomar. Nothing current is listed as fitting this one of some 33 years old. The hatch seems like it might be one of the reinforced poly-whatevers like Zytel??
The piece installed is light smoke gray at .224 thick by 18.625X18.625, 1.75 rad. corners; all edges sanded and broken/relieved. The reinforcing sections leave only about 8.5 inches unsupported.

ACE is right down the road. Prolly where I saw it!
03-08-2013 10:29 PM
benesailor
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

Deltaten, If you are looking for the lexel you can get it at ACE hardware. Also; don't buy it in a small tube, get the 10.5 oz regular caulking gun size. You'll find out why otherwise. For some reason it can be a son of a gun in the small tube. Nice thing too; it's as clear as water. literally.
03-08-2013 10:27 PM
Maine Sail
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaten View Post
I specified Lexan due to the strength and longevity in harsh environs. Acrylic sheet as found in hardware sources and even the vendor I got the Lexan from will not hold up as well. The Lexan is not as scratch resistant; but it would take a misplaced foot on the hatch or a dropped shackle a lot better
Actually it won't. Polycarbonate is very impact resistant but far more fleixible than CAST acrylic, what is mostly used in hatches. Unless your hatch was specifically designed for polycarbonate, it would have support bars if it was, then polycarbonate is the wrong product for a human stepping on it or green water pounding it. When stepped on it foreshortens/flexes and breaks the seal and crew mates can even wind up in the cabin.

Cast acrylics like Acrylite GP made by Cyro is used by most all hatch manufacturers. The only hatch I know of using polycarbonate is the Bomar 100 series and it has cross bars to brace and support the polycarbonate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaten View Post
While possibly not the best product for bedding, sealing or making most boat parts watertight; silicone is the recommended product for Lexan installation in this instance. There *may* be other sealant/adhesives that have been used by boat pros; but I am not one of those; nor do I have a chandler handy

Yes but the silicones recommended are specifically engineered for "glazing" applications. There are HUGE differences between the many products that all call themselves "silicone caulk". They are not all created equal.. Products like Dow 795 or GE Sil Pruf SG-4000 are the preferred products but Sikaflex 295UV with the special primer can also be used.. Boat life Life Seal is a silicone /polyurethane hybrid and really should be avoided on cast acrylics or polycarbonates. Boat Life silicone is NOT a structural glazing silicone it is a generic silicone.

Many of the marine sealants like Life Seal are moisture cure. In a dry environment they can take a long time to cure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaten View Post
Now 24 hrs later and warmed for half that time; the stuff seems ta be a bit firmer; but still sticky and smeary under finger pressure, once the very slight (but sticky) "skin" is broken.
Looks like it's coming off and being re-done Once there.. I'll look for some Lexel. I know I've seen it before and read up on it; but don;t know if it's available common to me
If you want the installation done right then you can't go wrong with Dow 795 or GE SG-4000... Dow 795 is available from Mcmaster Carr for $8.82, a less than Boat Life and a LOT better for the intended use....


Tony D'andrea is the marine plastics guru. He advises ABYC and works hand in hand with Lewmar on many projects. He owns Select Plastics in CT USA. For years he worked for Cyro Plastics, makers of ACRYLITE GP, and now owns one of, if not the largest hatch warranty & repair facility in the world. In short he knows marine plastics and is not shy about giving his opinions on issues such as screwing/through bolting, acrylic vs. polycarbonate and what sealants to use..

I have had lengthy discussions with Tony on all things marine plastic and he is a walking encyclopedia of plastics knowledge. I will simply default to him as he can say what needs to be said better than I....



Here are some quotes from Tony D'andrea.

Tony on Acrylic vs. Polycarbonate:



"Consider the Following:

  • All major hatch, portlight and window manufacturers use Acrylic in offshore / bluewater marine products.
  • Acrylic is more scratch resistant than standard (9034) polycarbonate.
  • Acrylic is significantly more durable when exposed to Ultra Violet radiation (sunlight).
  • Acrylic is less expensive than Polycarbonate.
Don't misunderstand my preference for acrylic. I buy, use and sell a significant amount of both products and each has its application. In my humble opinion Acrylic is more durable, versatile and cost effective in the hands of a skilled craftsman than polycarbonate.

Additional considerations may include polycarbonate with UV and scratch resistant coatings. While these products are heavily promoted by several manufacturers and carry 5, 10 even 15 year warranties the following information has been reported in "real life"applications:
  • Polycarbonate is impact resistant. When its new it is almost impossible to break.
  • Small quantities (less than a 4 by 8) in gauges over 1/8th inch are difficult to to find in the uv/scratch resistant grades.
  • Colors are limited. Only two standards (gray and bronze). Try and find anything thicker than 1/4 in UV/ scratch resistant!
  • Polycarbonate foreshortens when subject to static or dynamic loads. What this means is if you replace your hatch lens with polycarb, seal it and then step on it the ductile material will deflect (bow) in the center. One of two things may happen. 1st you will surely break the watertight seal, 2nd you may end up with a leg in your galley.
  • As for the warranty: The original owner is warranted against failure subject to the material being submitted to the distributor for evaluation with the original invoice subject to actual replacement cost at the time of purchase. I guess this means they sell you a new square of material and apply the old payment to the new cost. How about the labor to fabricate the part, install it and sealant? Why take the chance?
Polycarbonate is a great material, The US Air force uses it for fighter canopies! I sell Polycarb to the USCG and US Navy. Remember they don't mind using it because we are paying to replace it every three years.
Both Acrylic and Polycarbonate have specific uses and installation requirements.

Cast Acrylic (of a specific thickness) is in accordance with CE and ABYC guidelines, and installed on virtually all of the big blue water sail boats produced on both sides of the pond. Polycarbonate is commonly used as a replacement due to its ease of fabrication and incredible initial strength. The USCG and USN require Polycarbonate on their vessels but they also have a PM cycle of 36 to 42 months for change out. My Tax dollars at work...

Due to its ductility Polycarbonate it is more challenging to install. I have seen Sika Flex 295UV with primer and Dow 795 both mentioned. I use and recommend both. Dont go over 4 ft continuous length with a fixed portlight. Remember the coefficiant of thermal expansion for Acrylic and Polycarbonate is in the neiborhood of .000039 per inch per degree F. That means an 8ft plastic port will expand and contract up to 1/2 of an inch from the coldest day in Feb to the hottest day in summer. WOW!! Compartmentalize the job. It will be easier to install and less prone to leaks.


Tony on Screwing or Through Bolting:

Never ever bolt a plastic portlight in place. Screws are fine to hold a lens till the adhesive cures. Take them out asap and fill the holes with the afformentioned products. Both of these products are rated at 700 + percent elongation before tear.
Strong flexible and UV resistant. Been to a boat show lately? Seen any screws?
"

Tony on Sealants:

"I hear the question as to which sealant to use when bonding Acrylic, or Polycarbonate to aluminum, stainless or FRP over and over and over.....

Well here goes... The only three adhesives I would consider using are Sika Flex 295 UV with the primer, GE SG-4000, and Dow 795. Using the correct adhesive is only 1/2 the battle. Do not apply the sealants below 50 degrees F. The temperature must maintain at least 50F during the entire 21 day cure cycle. Cut this corner and your finished before you start. Preparation of the bond area is also very/ very important. DO NOT TOUCH THE BOND AREA WITH YOUR BARE HANDS! Contamination from the dirt and skin oils will make a solid cure impossible. You may clean the FRP and metal with acetone to prep the area but if you touch the Lexan or Plexi with harsh solvents you will ruin the portlight. A 50/50 mix of isopropal alcohol and distilled water will work well to clean the plastic if needed. Remember that clean enough is not clean enough."




Select Plastics (LINK)
03-08-2013 10:25 PM
deltaten
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

Then it's a good thing I'm not running a spinny
03-08-2013 10:06 PM
hellosailor
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

"silicone is the recommended product for Lexan installation in this instance. "
Interesting. As GE made both of those materials, I wonder if whoever recommended the combination, ran that idea past GE.

Both acrylics and polycarbonates come in many grades with very different characteristics. As a rule of thumb, I'd say even the weakest polycarbonate will be more than 10x stronger than the best acrylic. So personally? That's what I'd want on the deck hatches too. Scratches can usually be polished, but a stray spinnaker pole will do more than make a mark.
03-08-2013 09:31 PM
deltaten
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

I specified Lexan due to the strength and longevity in harsh environs. Acrylic sheet as found in hardware sources and even the vendor I got the Lexan from will not hold up as well. The Lexan is not as scratch resistant; but it would take a misplaced foot on the hatch or a dropped shackle a lot better
While possibly not the best product for bedding, sealing or making most boat parts watertight; silicone is the recommended product for Lexan installation in this instance. There *may* be other sealant/adhesives that have been used by boat pros; but I am not one of those; nor do I have a chandler handy
Now 24 hrs later and warmed for half that time; the stuff seems ta be a bit firmer; but still sticky and smeary under finger pressure, once the very slight (but sticky) "skin" is broken.
Looks like it's coming off and being re-done Once there.. I'll look for some Lexel. I know I've seen it before and read up on it; but don;t know if it's available common to me
03-08-2013 06:06 PM
hellosailor
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

Nope. Lexan® is a registered brand name for polycarbonate materials made by General Electric. Technically, it should be referred to as "Lexan® brand polycarbonate" or used as an adjective similarly. But everyone seems to think "lexan" is a cool word for "plastic glazing" and lexan is damned expensive and uncommon in the larger picture because of the price. Mistaking one for the other would be a good way to ensure a sealant failure, among other problems.

And the scratch- and uv-resistant grades of either material, make the plain stuff look cheap in comparison.

oh, wait, the Wiki tells me I'm behind the times:
"Lexan is a registered trademark for SABIC Innovative Plastics' (formerly General Electric Plastics) brand of polycarbonate resin thermoplastic."
03-08-2013 05:44 PM
benesailor
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

I thought Lexan (brand name) was an acrylic? i can't think of anything silicone is good for. "nothing sticks to silicone, silicone sticks to nothing" That's why it makes a good lubricant.
I still recommend Lexel.
03-08-2013 05:37 PM
hellosailor
Re: WTH!!!!!!! Silicone problem..

Boatlife makes good stuff and I'd suggest calling them to ask what happened.

But as i recall, silicone won't permanently adhere to either Lexan or Plexiglass. Polycarbonate or acrylic, two very different materials.

Since so many people confuse the two, I have to ask, you are sure that you have Lexan, not an acrylic, there? Special adhesives, special primers. Silicone will not adhere in any long term, although it may flex enough to seal the trim ring.
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