|Gatorfoam Technical Bulletin|
|Home Edge Trim Sintra Komatex Polystyrene (HIPS)|
Gatorfoam is a series of unique, lightweight structural panels consisting of a rigid Polystyrene foam core faced on both sides by smooth, moisture resistant man-made wood fiber veneers. The foam and veneers are permanently bonded together in a sandwich construction. The face laminates have been specially developed to provide an excellent surface for painting, silk screening, laminating and photo mounting.
The exterior qualities of Gatorfoam make it a top choice for signage, props, floats, exhibits and point of purchase displays to name but a few applications for this specialty panel product.
The black Gatorfoam is not recommended for exterior use. The Polystyrene foam core is impervious to moisture; however, ultra-violet radiation (sunlight) degrades unprotected foam. The black color further aggravates this problem as dark colors absorb ultra-violet light.
are manufactured flat and graded for flatness prior to packaging.
Occasionally, however, panels may be received in a bowed condition -
usually the top panel in the carton. These panels should be allowed to
return to their original flat state prior to processing. Generally this
can be accomplished by either:
|Advertising Media||Graphic Art Supply Stores||Parade Float Manufacturers|
Television Stations (props and sets)
|Convention Centers and Exhibit Halls||Public Utilities and Phone Companies|
|Department Stores||Silk Screening Shops||Graphic Designers|
|Display Departments||Point of Purchase Manufactures||Theatrical Properties and Scenery Studios|
|Grocery Store Chains||Museums||Sales Promotional Aids|
|Fast Food Store Chains||Display and Exhibit Manufactures||Architectural Model Builders|
|Lettering and Sign Shops||Colleges and Universities||Educational Tools|
|Photo Mounting Shops||Amusement Centers (Six Flags, Disney World)||Toy Manufactures|
|Color Labs||Store Fixture and Planning Companies||State and Federal Agencies|
|Art Supply Stores|
|Physical Properties||ASTM Method||Value|
|Compressive Strength||D-1621||500 psi|
|Tensile Strength||D-1623||300 psi|
|Shear Strength||D-273||165 psi|
|Dimensional Stability||D-2126||1.2% max|
|Water Absorption||D-2842||0.062% by Vol. after 96 hrs.|
|Closed Cell Content||D-2856||97%|
|"K" Value Insulation Factor||C-177||0.291|
|Freeze Thaw||D-2126, 25 Cycles||No disbonding or distortion|
|Mold & Mildew Resistance||D-3273||Does not support Growth|
|Flammability Test See note: This test was done in 1974 and then rejected in 1976. There is not a current test for Flammability.||D-1692- 1974 Burn Test||Pass|
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE
POWER TOOL CUTTING:
AND GUILLOTINE CUTTING:
Contact Cement Adhesive - Because of the nature and application of contact cement, no special surface preparation is needed. The surface should, of course, be kept clean and free of any oil contaminates as with any other surface to be glued. If adhesive is solvent base rather than water base, caution should be taken to avoid contact with foam core as the solvent can cause core to deteriorate. Sufficient open time must be taken with solvent based contact cement to avoid solvent penetration of the facer. Water based contact cements are recommended.
Other Adhesives - The panel surface must be sanded in the area where gluing is to occur. The sanding "breaks" the laminate surface and allows for more adhesive "bite".
METHOD OF APPLICATION:
Laminating Fabric (Velcro, etc.)
- For best results:
TYPE OF PAINT:
|Acrylic Base||Enamels (Water base and oil base)|
|Oil Base||Lacquers (Solvent base)|
Caution should be exercised, however, when using oil base or solvent base systems, not to allow paint to make contact with the polystyrene foam. These types of paints are likely to attack and deteriorate the foam core.
METHOD OF APPLICATION:
Spray coating normally offers the best all-around results with smoother, more uniform coverage. Curtain coating is not recommended due to a bubbling action created in the paint. The bubbling is caused by an air displacement and solvent flashing situation when applying a high volume of paint so quickly. This problem may be minimized by specifying flat pigment and slower solvents in the paint or by using water base paints.
|High Grade System||Low Grade System|
|2 coats primer||1 coat primer|
|2 coats pigmented enamel||1 coat pigmented top-coat|
|2 coats clear top-coat|
Any good grade of paint from a reputable manufacturer would be adequate. In cases where the foam edges might be subjected to exterior exposure, it will be necessary to protect the edges from deterioration by the high intensity ultra-violet light from the sun. A good coating of a pigmented water-base paint or similar UV barrier should be sufficient to provide this protection (please note that in exterior applications, edges must be inspected and touched up as necessary). From time to time, customers have experienced problems from UV penetration due to insufficient UV inhibiting pigment in the paint. This is particularly true with darker colors, i.e. dark red, deep brown, black, etc. If such colors are used and exposed edges of foam are not covered with a water base paint that has a heavy load of UV inhibiting pigment or with a good quality UV barrier, we will not be liable in the event of a foam/glue line failure. For full information on UV inhibitors contact your paint suppliers. Since a Gatorfoam panel is of a combustible nature and will burn readily if it comes in contact with an open flame, to avoid a hazard from fire, we suggest that all exposed surfaces be coated with a minimum of 3.5 mils of an Underwriter's Laboratories approved in tumescent (fire retardant) coating in all interior applications to reduce the risk of accidental ignition. Contact your local paint dealer for information or sources of these paints.
If forced drying by hot air ovens is used, sufficient flash time should be allowed in order to prevent blistering of paint. This is usually approximately ten minutes. Oven temperatures must be controlled to a maximum of 180 F for 1 1/2 minutes to prevent deterioration of foam and possible WARPAGE of the Gatorfoam panel.
Black Gatorfoam requires careful mounting particularly in low humidity conditions (such as indoors in cold climates). The finest quality mounting films are recommended. Surfaces should be carefully prepared before mounting.
DRY MOUNTING PRESS: (Heat Method)
For best results contact the supplier of the laminating material for their recommendations.
Gatorfoam is a combination of polystyrene and a polymeric impregnated veneer. because of its unique composition, there are no conservation standards that specifically apply to Gatorfoam. Both White and Natural Gatorfoam have successfully passed the Photo activity Test conducted by the Image Permanence Institute of the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Conservation mounting requires special materials to ensure that the art to be preserved will remain undamaged in the future. Many major museums have successfully used Gatorfoam to mount exhibitions for many years.
Testing at both room temperature and 150 F resulted in out gassing at the parts per hundred million range only. The base paper used in Gatorfoam are in the acidic range, however, the saturation process reduces the mobility of the acid. The average pH of the finished Luxcell facers is 6.5 - 7.0 pH. For long term storage, protection should be provided from ultraviolet light.
CAUTION: Since long term results are not available, use with artifacts of metal composition could have chloride reactions.
If forced drying by hot air ovens is used, sufficient flash time should be allowed in order to prevent blistering. . Oven temperature must be controlled to a maximum of 180 F for 1 1/2 minutes to prevent deterioration of foam and possible warp age of the Gatorfoam panel. When using ambient drying racks, drying time is usually approximately ten minutes.
ULTRA VIOLET INKS:
ADDITIONAL TECHNICAL DATA
|White Face:||Natural/Black Face:|
|1. 3/16"||4.1 pcf||1. 3/16"||13.3 pcf|
|2. 1/2"||7.9 pcf||2. 1/2"||7.3 pcf|
|3. 3/4"||6.0 pcf||3. 3/4"||6.0 pcf|
|4. 1"||5.4 pcf||4. 1"||5.2 pcf|
|5. 1"||4.7 pcf||5. 1'"||4.5 pcf|
|White Face:||Natural/Black Face:|
|1. 3/16"||137# +/- 8#||1. 3/16" 131# +/- 8#|
|2. 1/2"||136# +/- 8#||2. 1/2" 131# +/- 8#|
|3. 3/4"||104# +/- 6#||3. 3/4" 99# +/- 6#|
|4. 1"||88# +/- 5#||4. 1" 87# +/- 5#|
|5. 1 1/2"||74# +/- 4#||5. 1 1/2 73# +/- 4#|
Since we exercise no control over the way in which our products are stored, handled or used after shipment from our premises, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made as to the effects of their use. Our products are offered in good faith and our representatives are available to help the customer obtain the best results based on information and tests believed reliable. Our only warranty obligation is to replace or accept return of material which we have determined to be defective. Uniwood makes no warranty of any kind, express or implied, including without limitation any implied warranty of merchantability. No person is authorized to make any representation or warranty on behalf of Uniwood and any such statement shall not be binding.
Making canvas panels out of Gatorfoam or if you are going to paint directly on Gatorfoam, you should put a coat or two of acrylic or oil "Gesso" on it so that it will be absorbent enough to adhere the paint and to separate the linseed oil in the paint from the board. The oil will eventually degrade paper or linen canvas if applied directly.
How to cut foam core neatly:
To cut foam core neatly there are only 2 pieces of equipment necessary; a metal ruler and an extremely sharp blade. I prefer a cutter (the type that requires that you break off a section of the blade when you want to sharpen the tool). The reason I prefer these is that, with an X-Acto knife you have to purchase a new blade every time one gets dull. When cutting foam core I strongly recommend that you change your blade no less often than once every 8 cuts. That's a lot of blades to buy! If you're using a cutter you just break off the end and proceed with your next cut. My personal favorite is called Auto-Lock because it is a more substantial weight and construction than most and it is comfortable in my hand. I bought it from a regular office supply store.
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