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Minding the Flow: Resin Infusion 12/13/2012  
Fiberglass boat constructions falls into two general categories: open molding and closed molding. Open mold construction allows the emissions of styrenated resins to escape into the surrounding atmosphere as the individual layers of fiberglass and core material are laminated into place. Since 2005, Viking has used a closed molded system on many of the boats and components like fuel tanks with the aid of a resin infusion process. Not only does resin infusion prevent VOC (volatile organic compounds) and HAP (hazardous airborne pollutants) from escaping into the workplace, but the process also enables us to make a stronger and lighter part which contributes to weight management leading to better boat performance and manufacturing efficiencies.

In open mold construction, the accepted ratio is 70 percent resin and 30 percent fiberglass. Resin infusion produces a component that is typically 50 percent resin and 50 percent fiberglass. This is achieved by filling the mold cavity with dry fiberglass, and core materials, as well as carbon fiber and Kevlar laminates if used. The entire mold area is bagged and a vacuum pump is employed to mechanically draw the resin through the laminate in a single step. With infusion, excess resin is eliminated from the laminate and material waste is significantly reduced.

Resin infusion requires a substantial effort on the front end considering that a Viking hull can have as many as 16 different lay up schedules and up to six different core types, thicknesses and configurations. In addition, a large hull may have as many as 60 ports to ensure proper resin penetration throughout the laminate. But once the resin begins to flow and wet out the fiberglass it is only a matter of hours before a beautiful Viking hull is born
     
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