Brian Malik, Piedmont Plastics’ Marine Market Manager, answers frequently asked questions about Piedmont Marine Grade (PMG®) Aqua-Steel®.
Why was Aqua-Steel® initially developed?
Piedmont first began working on the development of Aqua-Steel® after other phenolic materials consistently failed to live up to boat-building standards. These materials encountered problems when they were used below the waterline, and the exposure to water over time made them delaminate and swell. The creation of Aqua-Steel® aimed to fix this issue because it uses a hydrophobic resin, which helps prevent water absorption and delamination. Additionally, Aqua-Steel® was developed to provide an alternative to aluminum and metal at a cheaper price.
How does Aqua-Steel® compare to similar products and materials?
Aqua-Steel® was partly made to replace aluminum and other metal materials. By using Aqua-Steel®, customers are able to save money and see equal, if not better, performance from the material. Unlike aluminum and other metals, Aqua-Steel® can be installed during the lamination phase, where it can chemically bond with the fiberglass in the mold. Other materials won’t chemically bond, which causes them to eventually move around and break free. Lastly, a great benefit of Aqua-Steel® is its ability for builders to “drill and tap” holes into it for stainless steel fasteners. This capability provides the added assurance of knowing that the fasteners will not corrode and seize up in the hole for future servicing or repair.
What feedback, if any, have you heard from customers who have used Aqua-Steel® to replace their traditionally used materials?
Most customers that try Aqua-Steel® love it! They love the cost savings they get from it because the material is about 30-40% less expensive than similar gauge aluminum or steel. Secondly, and as mentioned before, customers like the machinability of Aqua-Steel® because they can drill and tap holes for stainless fasteners, providing a longtime, worry-free material that won’t make the fasteners corrode or seize up over time. Customers also see the benefit of its ability to be laminated into the fiberglass with the resin while being chemically bonded in place without doing any surface prep. Lastly, they love the assurance of its excellent pull strength, pushing 1800psi.
What would you say to customers who have not tried Aqua-Steel® or who may be hesitant to make the change?
Allow Piedmont to provide you with a sample, the material speaks for itself. You will be very happy with the all-around benefits from ease of use, performance, and cost savings, making it a win-win product for everyone!
If you’d like to learn more about the properties and applications of Aqua-Steel®, click here to read our online brochure. If you have more questions about the material, you can contact us today and we’ll get you in touch with an expert.