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Epoxy for Formation Repair

PostPosted: May 16, 2007 10:17 am
by hunter
Hi all, does anyone know what the "appoved" epoxy for cave formation repair is? Also, any idea why it is considered approved?

Thanks,
James

PostPosted: May 16, 2007 12:15 pm
by Phil Winkler
Hi, Jim,

Many two part epoxies can cure even underwater making surface preparation in a cave environment quite easy. Another benefit is that they do not introduce any pollutants to the cave environment. Many of them have quite long working times.

Check marine stores for brands and then shop elsewhere for better prices.

PostPosted: May 16, 2007 1:43 pm
by Caverdale
I would recommend that you purchase the new NSS book on Cave Conservation and Restoration by Val and Jim Werker. There is an entire chapter devoted to what you are inquiring about. I have attended several lectures by Jim on the subject and he goes into detail about epoxies and his on-hands experience with them, including specific brand names and how-to suggestions. I haven't bought the book yet but am pretty certain that these details would be included.

PostPosted: May 16, 2007 5:00 pm
by hunter
Thanks for the replies, I've got access to a number of 2 part concrete epoxies which will work fine in terms of strength and curing, I'm mainly after a brand where someone has done there HW in terms of contamination...

Dale, I may get to buying the NSS book but I don't do that much restoration so I'm holding off for a little while at least.

James

PostPosted: May 16, 2007 7:23 pm
by Caverdale
hunter wrote:Thanks for the replies, I've got access to a number of 2 part concrete epoxies which will work fine in terms of strength and curing, I'm mainly after a brand where someone has done there HW in terms of contamination...James


James - Contamination is certainly an important consideration for material carried into a cave, but Jim Werker's lectures on epoxies to be used with speleothems seemed to emphasize that most of them don't actually work, despite all the specs and salesman's spiels. At present, I am helping him reattach a stalactite in a western Utah cave but it has been delayed for nearly two years because he won't try to epoxy it to the roof while the old ceiling stub is still dripping. It could be that maybe he doesn't know what you know, or visa-versa. You might e-mail him and start some correspondence. What have you got to lose? He's in the members manual.

PostPosted: May 17, 2007 12:02 am
by Teresa
Caverdale wrote:
hunter wrote:Thanks for the replies, I've got access to a number of 2 part concrete epoxies which will work fine in terms of strength and curing, I'm mainly after a brand where someone has done there HW in terms of contamination...James


James - Contamination is certainly an important consideration for material carried into a cave, but Jim Werker's lectures on epoxies to be used with speleothems seemed to emphasize that most of them don't actually work, despite all the specs and salesman's spiels. At present, I am helping him reattach a stalactite in a western Utah cave but it has been delayed for nearly two years because he won't try to epoxy it to the roof while the old ceiling stub is still dripping. It could be that maybe he doesn't know what you know, or visa-versa. You might e-mail him and start some correspondence. What have you got to lose? He's in the members manual.


The things which are 'approved' have all come about in the last 15 years by experimentation on things which seem to work-- there is no milspec or MSDS for any of these expoxies under cave conditions.

I've worked with a two-part epoxy used by the cut stone industry to join broken pieces of bathroom marble. It works ( at least it has held up under damp to wet conditions for about 10 years now.) I've been told that it's not 'approved' even though the manufacturer makes it to bond travertine. Almost nothing will work on an actively dripping stal...even the stuff I know about. You will have more luck with stalagmites than tites or draperies-- either of the latter usually needs to have steel pins as well as the glue.

Any epoxy is going to have small area adverse chemical reaction products. To disperse/minimize these, you need to figure out the ventilation in the cave. That's part of the nature of epoxy, so if you don't want to introduce foreign matter in to a cave don't glue anything.

What happens if the 'approved' expoxies are no longer manufactured? Well, finding the perfect epoxy is an ongoing process. Come join the fun!

PostPosted: May 17, 2007 10:38 am
by hunter
Hmm, ok. In this case I am looking at a stalagmite with a horizontal break so strength is an issue but not nearly so much as for a stalagtite. The cave is well ventilated and also sees at least one tour a day so contamination is not an enormous issue. It sounds to me like people have just considered strength and utility in cave conditions and then tried to minimize contamination but no really serious study has been done?

James