View Full Version : Chemists: West System Epoxy + Colloidal Silica Question

03/29/2013, 12:20 PM
I'm considering making some aquascape pieces and was curious to know from those of you with chemistry backgrounds if West System epoxy resins with Colloidal Silica would be reef safe once fully cured?

For reference, the Colloidal Silica is used as an adhesive filler to give the epoxy the consistency of peanut butter so it won't drip or run.

I am trying to find a substance that would allow me to bond dry coral rock together permanently with a minimal amount of adhesive. As I have used epoxy/Colloidal Silica with great success in bonding uneven surfaces in the past, I was thinking it might provide better adhesion than the usual plumbing epoxies typically used in aquascaping. I have made a test piece to see if the adhesion is better/stronger. It should be fully cured tomorrow.

Thanks in advance.

03/29/2013, 01:00 PM
Somewhere deep in the West System/Gougeon Brothers product literature there's a different technique for using it to make tanks for potable water. IIRC you're supposed to use one pump less of the hardener per 6 or 7 pumps of resin. The idea being there's a little extra hardener in the normal mix that goes unreacted and some of that can leach out into the water.

That said, it's one of those things that will probably be OK, but no one's going to give you any promises. Some people use this to make plywood tanks. Might let it cure for several days and then soak it in RODI for a while. FWIW I think Emaco mortar is the right tool for this job.

03/29/2013, 01:10 PM
Should be perfectly fine once the epoxy is cured. West products used quite a bit making plywood tanks. I myself have personal used it as well.

03/29/2013, 02:31 PM
I'll check out the literature. I have used West System epoxies on boat projects for years, including potable water projects. I just wasn't sure about coral sensitivity.

I was thinking I would give it a few days to cure and then run the project in RO/DI water with a carbon reactor for a week or so.

Also, the project will involve some BRS Pukani rock, so I will have to cure the whole enchilada in salt water anyway. I can run carbon while I am running GFO.


03/30/2013, 04:10 PM
I think it'll be fine once cured.