Release Systems for the Composites Industry

Release agents and process chemical specialties can do more than help make for a smooth manufacturing process. They are capable of elevating the entire composites industry. From the highly complex to the everyday, we provide customers with custom solutions that provide consistency, dependability, and value, from aerospace applications to automotive, construction, marine, recreational/sporting goods, wind energy, and more. And we do so in a safe, sustainable fashion. Let us assess your manufacturing process. We’d love to help you find a better way forward.

Chemlease® Release Systems for Advanced Composites

Manufacturers of advanced composite products know the importance of delivering finished parts of high structural integrity and ideal surface quality. In addition, they need to make parts efficiently and profitably. Chemlease® mold release systems help on both counts.


Chemlease® Release Solutions for Fibre Reinforced Plastics and Cultured Marble

With the broadest and most comprehensive semipermanent product line in the industry, Chemlease® is the answer to your most difficult release concerns. Whether it’s plugs and masters, small-part production, hulls or decks, or open or closed molding, Chemlease® technology delivers the right product for your application.

High Performance Release Systems for the Wind Energy Composites Industry

We are committed to bringing you premier Chemlease® mold release agents and ancillary products, download our product brochure to learn more about Chemlease® today.


Demolding at the Critical Point of Performance

Demolding is a point of critical performance in any composites manufacturing process, but this is especially true for large, high-performance composites structures such as windblades and nacelles.

Semi-Permanent Release Systems

Every part of the process is critical to manufacturing success. At Chem-Trend, we leave nothing to chance. Our semi-permanent release systems acome in liquid form and are designed to cross-link with humidity or heat and chemically bond to the mold, thus providing an inert, durable polymeric film that is resistant to wear, chemical and thermal attack. Because of the cross-linking nature of the semi-permanent, it often affords molders multiple molding cycles before the release agent must be reapplied and with minimal transfer to the molded part. Semi-permanent mold releases are versatile and will provide good release-ease for virtually all molding resins used in the composite fabrication process. Semi-permanent technology includes more than just a release agent and are used as a part of system to ensure best performance, typically consisting of a combination of the following components:

  • Cleaner
  • Primer
  • Sealer
  • Release agent

Everything needed to keep highly complex processes moving with ease. We also offer Zyvax® Semi-Permanent Release Systems for aerospace application.

Zyvax® TakeOff™ Zyvax® Departure™ Zyvax® 1070W Chemlease 2754W Chemlease 5128

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An Agent of Change

A breakthrough that will forever change moulding, Chem-Trend’s new Zyvax® 1070W release agent will revolutionize the way you see composite moulding. Clean moulds, clean parts, clean air…upgrade to Chem-Trend.


Zyvax® 1070W Release Agent Application Techniques

This informational video highlights the proper ways to utilize our revolutionary aerospace composites moulding release agent, Zyvax® 1070W.

How should I remove a semi-permanent mould release used in composites moulding applications?

Removal of semi-permanent release agent in composites moulding processes can be more difficult due to the toughness of the cross-linked coating. The recommended procedure is to use a specially designed cleaner or a buffing compound to ensure that all of the coating is removed.

I get streaking when applying the release agent to the mould for the production of composites parts. What should I do?

Many of the same factors that cause hazing also cause streaking. In our experience, streaking that occurs on application of release is most often the result of contamination, entrapped moisture, or improper application techniques. Presuming that the mould was cleaned properly, how you apply the release can have a big impact. Both sealer and release agent should be applied in a light even coating, using clean 100% cotton cloths. Do not use synthetic cloths because the solvent in the mould release can dissolve this type of cloth and cause streaking. DO NOT REUSE CLOTHS.

Shop environment and atmospheric conditions can play a major role in aggravating streaking. Hazing can occur when moulds are cooler than air temperatures. This can result in condensation being trapped within the mould release coating as it cures.

I am working in the composites moulding industry and I see haze on the mould when applying the release agent. What causes it and can I get rid of it?

Haze On The Mould After Applying Release (before moulding):

This can be caused by reaction of the release with contaminants on the mould surface; styrene in the mould blushing to the surface and becoming entrapped; entrapment of moisture in the curing release (particularly in very humid conditions); contaminated application cloths or wipes; condensation (particularly when moulds are cooler than air temperature).

I am working in the composites moulding industry and I see haze on the mould after the mouding process. What causes it and can I get rid of it?

Haze That Appears After Moulding:

Heat as a catalyst can drive moisture, un-reacted styrene or other un-reacted materials up through the mould matrix during the moulding process, entrapping them between the mould surface and the semi permanent film. Over several moulding cycles the styrene can also polymerize leaving a tenacious film on the mould surface. Compounding is the preferred method of removing this buildup.

I want to convert my moulds for composites parts to a semi-permanent mould release. Do I need to strip them first to do this?

If you are evaluating any mould release, we suggest that you totally strip a test mould and prepare it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is the only way you can gauge performance and understand the specific application process.

When testing any mould release, we always suggest that you select a test mould that is representative of your production, and one that is expendable in the event of a mishap occurring while testing. Always perform a tape test in several areas of the mould to assure that it is clean (tape should adhere well). Similarly, always perform a tape test on several areas of the mould after applying sealer and release (tape should release easier than on a clean surface).

Seasoned Test Mould Previously Prepared with Wax

This includes any kind of liquid wax, paste wax and waxed based sealers. Remove all foreign matter from the mould surface with a high quality mould cleaner and a cotton cloth. We do not recommend applying a semi-permanent directly over waxes, as this will compromise the bond of the semi-permanent mould release to the mould surface.

Seasoned Test Mould Previously Prepared with a Semi-Permanent Release

All semi-permanent mould releases are not the same. Many, however, are compatible with each other, which means one can be directly applied over a cured film of the other without stripping or compounding the mould. Test a small area with a high quality mould cleaner. Next, apply a coat of the new semi-permanent release. If the initial coat is difficult to apply (wets poorly), streaks or behaves unusually, STOP, and strip the mould. If everything appears as usual, follow this procedure for the entyre mould.

My composites parts are pre-releasing. What can I do?

Pre-releasing is another issue that has many contributing factors. Mould design, laminate schedule, resin formulation, gel coat formulation, improperly calibrated spray equipment, gel coat cure time, under or over catalization, shop temperature, humidity, and external heat sources – to name a few – can all lead to pre-release. Most semi-permanent mould releases have a lower surface coefficient of friction than conventional paste waxes, which is why they are more often implicated in pre-release. If all factors other than mould release have been addressed, you may be able to reduce the incidence of pre-release by lightly wiping areas where the mould is pre-releasing with a high quality mould cleaner to slightly alter the surface tension.

What do I do if an area of my mould used for composites parts leads to sticking at the part?

First, evaluate the area that is sticking. Perform a tape test in various spots on the mould to determine if the problem is related to application. Is it a consistent problem in one area or in one mould? Perhaps the sticking is related to abrasion, sheer edges, or draft angles. Is the area that is sticking a difficult area to reach when applying mould release? It may also be an area that simply requires more frequent touch ups of release, such as sheer edges or other areas of abrasion.

Why do I get buildup and sticking in non-skid areas of the mould for composites parts?

By taking a few precautions, you can achieve the same production from these types of surfaces as from a polished smooth surface. Buildup in non-skid areas generally can be seen as the same colour as the spray-up gel coat. The cause of buildup in the grooves of the pattern usually result from either:

1) failure to apply the release into the tips of deep recesses in the pattern which causes small bits of gel coat or resin to bond in the tips with each cycle, or

2) excess release agent pooling in these areas because of poor application technique. When excess release is present, it does not have a chance to dry or cure thoroughly, or to develop full chemical resistance. The release films over on the surface and can attract free styrene from the gel coat or resin used to mould parts. This can occur because styrene in the resin acts as a solvent, penetrating the heavier areas of release and accelerating the buildup and sticking in these areas. To reduce the buildup and sticking concerns, care should be taken to thoroughly brush out and polish the release into these deep patterns without leaving a heavy residue.

Conventional Release Systems

Conventional mold release technology (also known as “sacrificials”), are used where the release task requires more lubrication, and where this parameter outweighs that of other release related aspects. Because of this lubrication, a fair amount of the release coating is “sacrificed” and removed with the part during the de-mold process, and therefore the release agent is typically reapplied after every molding cycle to ensure same performance. These products are deliberately designed to be mobile, and should be expected to transfer to the molded part.Chem-Trend provides conventional products that are suitable for high-gloss or matte finish situations or non-cosmetic applications in either solvent-based or water-based options.

Conventional mold releases used in composites applications have become the exception, rather than the rule and are used for a limited number of applications. However, the result is just as critical. That is why we provide an array of products, taking a case-by-case approach to research, test, and manage. All the way through.

Zyvax® Release Agents have been developed specifically to address the needs of molders of composites materials for the Aerospace industry. A wide variety of choices are available to allow for finding a release agent optimized for your process.

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Internal Mold Releases

When situations arise that require new thinking, Chem-Trend thrives. Internal mold releases (IMR) can also be used for composite molding. IMRs are typically comprised of an additive blend in solid or liquid form which is pre-mixed into the resin prior to molding. During the cure process, the IMR becomes immiscible in the resin, phase separates and blooms to the surface, creating an outer lubricating layer at the interface of the curing part and mold substrate. We have developed special internal release agents for the composite molding industry that are utilized for two major purposes:

  • Enhance the function of external release agents. Keeping the mold surface clean and free from buildup for an extended period of time. This saves time and labor, and it preserves the integrity of your products.
  • Provide internal lubrication to the resin. For certain situations, this provides a game-changing element to the manufacturing process as well as the future use of the resulting product.

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How much internal mould release should I mix into the resin for testing? Find the answer in our FAQs about internal mould release agents for pultrusion.

Looking for answers about composites internal mold release for pultrusion? Learn more about frequently asked questions and the answers you need.


Chemlease® and Zyvax® Mold Cleaners are designed to remove wax, buffing compounds, oils, greases and other contaminants from composite molds. They are ideal for preparing composite mold surfaces for the application of mold sealers and release agents, and in select cases, the cleaning of molded parts prior to secondary operations including bonding and painting.

Zyvax® mold cleaners are designed to keep molds and tooling in peak working condition, allowing composites molding facilities to maximize operational efficiency while producing high-quality parts and protecting key assets. Zyvax® mold cleaners are specifically developed for the demanding needs of the aerospace industry.

Thorough cleaning is a vital step in the mold prep process to ensure proper bonding of the semi-permanent release system. At Chem-Trend, we work with customers to ensure cleaning is considered as much as release for continuous exceptional results. This reduces waste and provides predictable consistency.

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Composites moulding: What mould preparation should I follow after a fast patch (repair)? Sometimes I need to put the mould back in production within one hour.

A lot depends upon the material you are using to patch the mould, how thoroughly the patch material cures, as well as the depth and overall size of the patch. Quick set, talc filled, styrene free, BPO cured putties have advantages in these applications even though they must be over-sprayed with gel coat for a cosmetic finish.

Once the patched area has been cured, compounded and buffed, all foreign matter should be removed from the surface using a high quality mould cleaner. Follow this by applying a high quality sealer and release agent following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Composites moulding: What preparation should I follow after buffing, sanding, or stripping the mould?

Sanding, heavy buffing and stripping can open pores of a mould, allowing un-reacted styrene to bleed out of the mould during production. This can occur in seasoned moulds as well. Once the mould has been buffed, sanded, or stripped, and all foreign matter removed, clean the mould with a high quality mould cleaner following the recommended application procedure. Then apply a high quality sealer and release agent following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Composites moulding: What should I do if raw (un-catalyzed) resin or gel coat over-spray gets on the mould?

Gel Coat Over-Spray: Gel coat over-spray has been catalyzed. Even if the film over-sprayed on the mould is thin, it will eventually get hard. If the over-spray has not cured it can usually be wiped off with a cloth dampened with a high quality mould cleaner and then followed by a re-application of mould release. If the over-spray has cured, and the mould has release agent on it, it can sometimes be wiped off with a cloth saturated with a high quality mould cleaner and then followed with a re-application of the release. Or, simply let it totally cure and just peel it off the mould surface. If the mould surface has no release on it and the over-spray cures, in most cases it must be compounded off.

Raw or un-catalyzed resin: Dampen a cloth with a high quality mould cleaner and wipe the raw resin off the mould surface. Use as little mould cleaner as possible and as little pressure in removal as possible to avoid removing an excessive amount of release from the mould. However, you must ensure that you totally remove the un-catalyzed resin from the mould surface; since a thin uncured film of resin could lead to problems on the next de-moulding. Having removed all of the uncured resin from the mould surface, reapply mould release and continue processing.


Primers reduce surface roughness, producing a uniform surface profile and chemical barrier on plugs, masters, prototype and production-grade composite molds and tooling. Mold primers also impart gloss, vacuum integrity and a preferred bonding surface for semi-permanent sealers and release agents.

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Sealers are specifically designed to help protect investments in molds and tooling by sealing micro-porosity and conditioning the raw bonding sites found on virtually all mold substrates, including Class A tooling gel coats, fiberglass and carbon fiber composites, as well as metals.

We strive to be the most dependable, trouble-free part of the entire manufacturing process. We don’t see sealers and primers as merely a necessary step — we see them as an opportunity. To keep production running more reliably. And to keep your orders fulfilled and your bottom line moving accordingly.

Whether it’s a primer, a sealer, or an entire system. We’d love to talk.

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