One of my projects is repairing a composite hood for a large International Medium-Duty truck. This hood is made of SMC, and is damaged in various locations to various degrees. In doing the repairs, I am using epoxy resin and glass reinforcement. The fiberglass reinforcement I am using is referred to as Chopped Strand Mat, and is the 3 oz. per square foot version.
The chopped strand mat is made up of random glass fibers held together with a light binding material. A good pair of scissors can cut the glass into manageable sizes, though the scissors will be dull when you are finished. The chopped strand mat can also be torn by hand. This leaves a “feathered” edge to create nice transitions between the patched areas and the existing surface. Pieces that are cut will leave a silhouette that will show and may require other methods to make it disappear.
The first thing that I checked was to make sure the glass was compatible with the epoxy resin. The package told me so, but I also did
a small test sample to ensure that the epoxy would mix with it, was workable, and would harden properly. Testing away from the actual part can save many potential headaches and pitfalls.
Applying the glass and resin is relatively easy. Thoroughly mix some resin and apply it to the properly prepared surface (clean, dry, and sanded). Tear off an appropriate size piece of glass and place it on a piece of cardboard. Use a cheap paintbrush to get the glass wet with resin. Flip the glass over, and wet the backside. The glass will go from white to transparent on the cardboard. Now lift the glass from the cardboard and apply it to the area with the resin recently-applied resin. Use the brush to push it down against the surface to get as much contact area as possible.
Additional layers can be applied on top to build thickness, making sure to create a nice transition and limiting air bubbles in the laminate.