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Mould Release Agents

On this page you will find:

• General information on mould release agents
• Special protection information
• Effects of exposure
• First aid procedures
• Spill or leak procedures
• Fire extinguishing procedures
• Storage and handling procedures

About mould release agents
A mould release agent is applied to the mould surface to allow the composite part to be easily removed from the mould, avoiding stick-ups. Release agents may be sprayed, brushed or wiped on and some can be left on whilst others are wiped off. There are five types of mould release agents used in the composites industry:

  • Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA): A clear, blue or red liquid. When it dries it forms a plastic film over the surface of the mould
  • Wax systems: These can be a paste or liquid. These include carnauba wax and also other natural and synthetic waxes
  • Semi-permanent polymer systems: These are also called semi-permanent release agents and can also be called polymer release agents. These are based on one or more polymeric resins dissolved in a solvent.
  • Hybrid systems: These systems combine wax and polymer.
  • Internal release additives: These are incorporated into sheet moulding compounds and dough moulding compounds.

As there are many different types of release agents, the health hazards vary. Some are toxic if swallowed, moderately toxic if inhaled and slightly toxic to the skin. Older types of release agents contained hazardous air pollutants. Most release agents are flammable.

The various mould release agents are often dissolved in a solvent (e.g naptha) to make them easy to apply. However, these solvents can be hazardous. Solvents evaporate easily and this vapour can then be inhaled. Some solvents can dissolve the fat in human tissue. This means that prolonged or repeated exposure of the skin removes natural oils, resulting in dryness or cracking. Other components of mould release agents can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and throat.

Special Protection Information 
Respiratory Protection:Adequate ventilation must be provided if solvent based release agents are being used. If above the NOHSC exposure standard, use SA approved respiratory protective equipment.
Eye Protection:Use SA approved chemical splash goggles.
Protective Clothing:Wear chemical resistant gloves such as butyl rubber or neoprene rubber gloves. Apply barrier creams to un-covered skin. Wear full length trousers and long sleeved shirts and safety boots.
CONSULT SAFETY EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS.

Effects of Exposure 
Eyes:May cause irritation and redness.
Inhalation:May cause irritation of the respiratory tract. Frequent and prolonged exposure to high concentrations of solvent vapours may result in loss of coordination, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting and possible unconsciousness.
Skin:Prolonged and/or frequent contact with solvent-based agents can result in defatting of the skin, possibly leading to other dermatitic effects.
Swallowing:May cause gastrointestinal irritation.

First Aid Procedures 
Eyes:Flush with water for at least 15 minutes.
Inhalation:Remove to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, seek immediate medical assistance.
Skin:Remove contaminated clothing for laundering. Wash with soap and water. Do NOT use solvents.
Swallowing: Do NOT induce vomiting. If person is conscious, they should drink large quantities of water. Seek medical advice immediately.

Spill or Leak Procedures 
If solvent-based, eliminate all sources of ignition and ventilate area. Wearing protective equipment, stop spill at source, dam area and if possible pump liquid into salvage tank. Alternatively, absorb residue with vermiculite or sand. Scoop up using nonsparking tools into labelled waste container. Flush area with water, but prevent it from entering waterways. Dispose of waste in accordance with local, state and federal regulations. Reporting of spills/leaks may be required under EPA and Dangerous Goods regulations.

Fire Extinguishing Procedures 
Wear protective clothing and equipment including self-contained breathing equipment. In general, use foam or carbon dioxide to put out fires (Refer to MSDS). Cool fire-exposed containers with water spray.

Storage and Handling Procedures 
Store in properly closed, labelled containers in a cool area, fitted with floor level and breathing zone ventilation to remove vapours which collect at these levels. Ensure all sources of ignition are eliminated. Keep away from strong oxidizing agents. Do not transfer to unmarked containers. Do not transfer to unapproved plastic containers. Open containers outside to allow venting of any vapours, especially if warmed. Earth containers when pouring to prevent the discharge of static electricity.


KEY to abbreviations – CNS: Central Nervous System EPA: Environmental Protection Authority NOHSC: National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia) PVC: Polyvinyl chloride SA: Standards Australia

Disclaimer: Facts and information reported on this page are believed by Composites Australia to be accurate at the date of printing. No responsibility is accepted by Composites Australia for the use or misuse of information on this page. Composites Australia accepts no responsibility for damage or injury caused by information or omissions contained on this page.