During curing A1 will expand between 0,1% and 0,6%. The biggest advantage of this expansion is that A1 will make a perfect copy of the mould you are using by copying every (tiny) detail. This is the reason why A1 will feel and look like the original.
When using a polyester, metal or another stiff material mould be aware that this needs to be self-releasing.
For A1 objects that need to be dimensionally stable use high shore silicone moulds or stiff material moulds.
2.0 Peak temperature
The peak temperature of A1 during curing is about 40ºC – 45ºC. Even for larger volumes of A1 this temperature will be in the same range.
3.0 Not food approved
We do not have a food approval certificate for A1.
A1 has a creamy white colour after curing and is non-transparent. As the A1 powder is non-transparent, we are not able to develop a transparant version of A1.
5.0 Test values for mechanical properties
For the determination of the mechanical performance of A1 composite laminate panels have been made by hand lay-up of glass fibre reinforcement (Triaxial Fibre 300, 160 g/m²) with A1 mixture.
A1 has a hardness of approx. 80 Shore D.
7.0 Tool cleaning with water
Skin and hands can be washed with soap and water. Tools can be cleaned with water.
Without fillers or colourants A1 has the appearance of cream-white coloured stone. Slight color changes are possible as the A1 power varies in color as it is a natural product.
8.1 “Freeze-thaw” cycles
A1 panels where tested with 100 freeze-thaw cycles according to NEN-EN 12467. All panels withstood the “freeze-thaw” cycles without visual damage. Moreover, the mechanical tests after those cycles show no significant difference compared to the non-exposed specimens. The differences found are within the experimental scatter. The A1 (Acrylic One) panels can thus withstand the “freeze-thaw” cycles without failure.
10.0 Design Guide A1 Structures
Active Composite Technologies (ACT) has developed Acrylic One (A1) composites. Since 20 years this material has been successfully applied in various products and applications. Besides the well-known benefits of composites (freedom of shape, light weight and strong), A1 has a superior fire resistance and absence of smoke generation during fire. This makes A1 unique for certain applications.
ACT commissioned Dr. Ir. Albert ten Busschen, technical director of Poly Products to write the present design guide to have a clear methodology for designing products and verify structural behaviour such as strength and stiffness. Poly Products has over 10 years of experience in the use of A1 in several products. Moreover, this firm has an extensive knowledge of product design, composite mechanics, production and installation.
Our Design Guide A1 Structures is a must read for people who are designing interior and exterior A1 projects.
11.0 I am interested in finding a material that is sustainable/eco- friendly. Is A1 an eco-friendly material?
We should be striving towards reducing the environmental impact of materials and products. Although many companies promote their products as eco-friendly, it is challenging or even impossible to have a 100% eco-friendly material as all materials we use have an impact on the environment.
The impact depends on factors such as the production method, resource usage, and disposal method. Some materials are considered to have a lower environmental impact compared to others and can be considered more eco-friendly. To determine if a product is eco-friendly is comparing it against other materials. This makes the concept of “eco-friendliness” subjective.
A material could be considered eco-friendly if it meets the following criteria:
- Sustainability: It is produced from renewable resources and does not deplete natural resources.
- Recyclability: It can be easily recycled or reused, reducing waste and pollution.
- Biodegradability: It breaks down into natural substances in the environment without causing harm.
- Non-Toxicity: It does not release harmful chemicals or pollutants into the air, water, or soil.
- Energy Efficiency: Its production and use consume minimal energy and resources.
A1 consists of 2 parts A1 powder, which is a mineral powder, and 1 part Liquid, which is a water based Acrylic emulsion. If we try to examine the impact of A1 on our environment we find the following:
The mineral powder can be considered an eco-friendly material. It is a naturally occurring mineral that is used in the construction industry to make drywall and other building materials. It is sourced sustainably and manufactured with environmentally responsible processes, and as such has a low environmental impact.
The Acrylic emulsions we use to make our A1 liquid are known for their good performance properties, including durability, flexibility, weather resistance, and UV stability. Acrylic emulsions are used to produce a variety of products, including architectural coatings, industrial coatings, and floor coatings, among others. In the paper and textiles industries, acrylic emulsions are used as a binder in adhesives and as a coating for paper and fabric. They are considered eco-friendly compared to traditional solvent-based coatings.
Our Acrylic emulsions emit no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In addition, although acrylic emulsions still contain some oil-based substances, they are water-based, which makes them easier to clean up and reduces the risk of fire compared to solvent-based coatings. They also typically have lower toxicity levels, which makes them safer to use and handle. However, the production of acrylic emulsions still requires energy and resources, and the disposal of waste products can also have an impact on the environment.
Overall, acrylic emulsions are considered to be more environmentally friendly than traditional solvent-based coatings, but it is important to consider the full life cycle of the product, from production to disposal, when evaluating its environmental impact.
Using the earlier mentioned environmental criteria we can make an effort to determine the environmental impact A1 (compared against other materials):
- Sustainability: A1 Liquid and A1 Powder is produced from non-renewable resources and does deplete natural resources. However these resources are considered having a relatively low impact on the environment. Also important to realise that in an application like A1 Claddings only panels of 7 mm thickness are needed to create a strong and effective A1 panel. So less material is needed compared to materials like concrete and bricks to achieve the same result. Also the expected life time of A1 is >50 years. Less materials needed, in combination with a long expected lifetime means a lower impact on the environment.
- Recyclability: A1 can be easily recycled or re-used. Our terrazzo is a well known example where chips of cured A1 are mixed into new A1.
Also A1 can easily be grinded into small particles as you can see in the video below. The testpanels we used for these tests also contained our A1 Glass fiber which were easily crushed as well. Next we mixed the crushed A1 as a filler into new A1 panels/objects. We can add up to 66% of fillers in weight based on the weight of the A1.
We are even working on mixing other materials into the A1, like composite windmill blades to make A1 objects.
- Biodegradability: A1 is not biodegradable as this makes would A1 unsuited for outdoor use. Only in cases where A1 is in contact with water for a very long period the A1 might break down into smaller substances. Although the materials used to produce the A1 are harmless, no studies have been done to determine the environmental impact of the A1 when it breaks down.
- Non-Toxicity: A1 is non-toxic and does not release harmful chemicals or pollutants into the air, water, or soil.
- Energy Efficiency: The production and use of A1 consumes minimal energy and resources which makes it very energy efficient. As A1 objects in general are lightweight compared to other materials, the cost of transportation and installation, like A1 panels, is very energy efficient.
From a marketing perspective we should classify A1 as an eco-friendly material. However, based on criteria above we prefer not to use the term eco-friendly (any more) as this might give the impression that A1 has no impact on the environment.
We prefer to mention that A1 has a low impact on the environment if we compare it to many alternative materials used in the art, theming and cladding market. The low impact on the natural resources of the products A1 is made of, in combination with recyclability, long life time, relatively little material needed, non-toxicity and energy efficiency makes A1 a environmentally responsible material to use.
This low impact is supported by the Life Cycle Analysis of A1 which concluded that A1 has an impact of € 0,22 per kg, which is low compared to many other (building) materials. The report is available on request.
12.0 Regular inspection
Even if the perfect A1 object has been made, it can happen that due to an external influence such as a collision, a storm or a very long period of moisture exposure, the object is (slightly) damaged, for example, at the coating or the A1 top layer.
Therefore, inspect the A1 object for damage at least once a year. These can often be remedied quite easily.
13.0 Is it safe to make dishes from A1?
Technical it is possible to make dishes and cups with A1. However as A1 has not food certificate and more important because A1 is a damp-open product which will absorb limites amouts of fluid we do strongly recommend not to use A1 to make products like dishes, cups, plates, bowls and jars which will be used for human food consumption.
On the other hand is A1 very suitable for making bowls, plates and cups to be used for decorative purposes only.
14.0 What is the heat resistance of A1?
We have not done official test for heat resistance. From our own test we performed we know A1 can withstand a temperature of at least 120 to 140ºC.
However it also depends on the thickness of the wall of the A1 object the size / heat development of the heat as this can vary.
Also we have A1 users who use A1 to make candles and candle holders which work perfectly.
We have done a small test ourselves with a burner which reaches very high temperatures. Although not an official test it shows that it takes quite some heat to affect the A1.
15.0 How can I remove stains from an unsealed A1 object?
Stains as a result of moisture like coffee, wine or dirty water can not be removed from A1 which is not protected by a coating, sealer or paint system. When moisture/water comes in contact with A1, the water will be absorbed by the A1 including all colores. The moisture in the A1 will evaporate but the pigments/colors in the moisture will be left in the A1 creating stains. These stains can not be removed.
16.0 A1 will undergo aesthetic changes
A1 is a mineral based product and will change aesthetics under the influence of UV and moisture. A1 objects that are not protected and placed in an outdoor environment will quickly lose a fraction of their top layer (is a fraction of a mm) with (often) the result that the object becomes more intensive in colour. Also after a rain shower A1 objects absorb moisture and therefore become darker in colour to become lighter in colour during a dry period. Accept A1 is a natural material and that these aesthetic changes are part of it. If the A1 object must remain colourfast, a coating or paint system can be a solution.
(Left panel) A1 panel directly after demoulding.
(Right panel) A1 panel after 5 years of weather exposure.
(Left panel) A1 panel with sand directly after demoulding.
(Right panel) A1 panel with sand after 5 years of weather exposure.
17.0 The basic material of A1 Powder consists of gypsum, right? Is it possible to make flower pots?
Although the A1 Liquid provides better protection against moisture, A1 Powder is indeed gypsum and therefore it is advisable to be careful with too much moisture. A flower pot made of A1 is at the limit of the possibilities of A1 because the amount of moisture present can be too great, especially with a pot without a hole in the bottom.
18.0 Train and guide your people
A1 is very enjoyable to work with and easy to process. This can create the impression that anyone can laminate an A1 panel/object without and preparation or experience. Although laminating is not difficult, A1 does require attention and accuracy when, for instance, it comes to:
- weighing and correct mixing of the various components.
- the short time between the application of the different
layers (glass fabric reinforced) A1.
- extra attention for the application of the top layer and the
connecting 2nd glass fibre reinforced layer to prevent air
- caution when unloading the product from the mould.
- The correct storage from the A1 panel/object after production
That is why we advise to give you and your people a headstart to practice working with A1. Let them produce a number of A1 test objects before starting to work on the production. Especially for people who are used to working with polyester and epoxy we advise this training as A1 requires (slightly) different working methods.
19.0 Do maintenance
With prolonged and intensive UV and moisture exposure, coating and paint systems require regular maintenance. From our tests we see that (particularly on the sunny side) the Sealer PLUS is also subject to erosion and as a result the protection of the A1 decreases. On our North side and in particular on the A1 objects placed close to the ground, we see an increase in alga deposits on the test panels. Cleaning the A1 object at least once a year (soft brush) and applying a new coating every few years provides extra protection for the A1 and thus extends its lifetime.