Basic Epoxy Instructions

This page provides a concise help source regarding the methodology and general workings of composite materials and their basic engineering for the first time user, experimenters and the seasoned experts

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Basic personal protective equipments and handling apparatus must be worn when handling any chemicals.

The following video demonstrates the basic reaction process of a polymerization and the amount of heat energy it can released based on the amount or volume of the resin being mixed and confinement configuration of the mixture.

Additional Information

Epoxy Resin System Basics

Epoxy resins or similar resins such as polyester, polyurethane acrylics are members of plastic polymer family. It can be further classified into two commercially significant groups: Thermo-set resins and thermo-plastics polymers.

Thermo-plastics are polymers commercially supplied in either in solid slabs, films, pellets and powders or in liquid solutions. Its physical state can be repeatedly transposed by varying the temperature it is exposed to (heat energy) Or liquefied by dissolving in to a solvent to create a liquid solution. The solvent can be as plain as tap water To complex petroleum-based solvents such as acetone, alcohols or kerosene.

This phase shifting can be repeated many times over with minimal distortion to its basic chemical structure. Good examples of a thermo-plastic polymers are recyclable plastic bottles or candle wax and Ordinary house paint.

Candle wax is solid at room temperature but it can be phase shifted into a liquid by temperature elevation or diluted into a solution with aromatic solvents such as kerosene. Typical house paint dries to a solid film but it can be reverted or stripped back into a liquid by re-introduction of a diluent or solvent (paint stripper) by reversing the method that induce the phase shifting, a thermo-plastic will revert back to its opposite phase.

The next type of polymer classification, are Thermo-set polymers. These are generally supplied as a liquid but can also be can also be a solid or thick paste. To induce physical change, an addition of another agent such as a catalyst or a curing agent is added. Mixed together it will initiate a chemical reaction that will permanently alter its chemical structure to a completely new type of compound that can be in a liquid form or solidified plastic. Once the chemical reaction is complete it cannot be reverted back to it’s original constituents. This reaction is called polymerization or molecular cross-linking.

In this case, our focus will be on epoxy based polymers. Upon mixture of an epoxy compound with a curing agent, polymerization called “addition-reaction” occurs. The once liquid resin and curing agent cures to a solid plastic. This reaction is one-way, upon completion of the reaction (molecular cross-linking), the solid polymer is un-meltable and yields excellent chemical resistance from solvents to acids.

Yellowing

Yellowing, discoloration and mechanical performance degradation of epoxy resin are commonly caused by  prolonged ultraviolet and high temperature exposure.

In general, most commercially significant sales and availability of epoxy resins are of aromatic compounds (Epichlorohydrin of bisphenol a), which provides the possibility of room temperature reactivity, excellent mechanical properties, chemical resistance and general ease of use.

It is mirrored by “aliphatic based polymer compounds” which yields higher performance characteristics but requires more involved processing to achieve full reactive polymerization (heat curing for example ) and are in general higher in cost per unit volume.

Aromatic compounds yield superior mechanical properties such as tensile strength, compression resistance, chemical resistance and retention of its properties through a wide range of service temperature. However, aromatic compounds are susceptible to degradation from ultraviolet energy exposure. Although chemical additives and proprietary manufacturing processes have shown a dramatic reduction of degradation, it will eventually demonstrate a declination of its cured mechanical property given enough time.

All of our max epoxy resin is aromatic-based and are formulated with UV stabilizers and other anti-oxidant additives to reduce the rate of degradation from ultraviolet exposure. In some formulations, such as the MAX CLR and MAX 1618 resin system, it utilizes an aliphatic (modified) and cycloaliphatic curing agent which yields the best color clarity and stability. We also process the aromatic-based epoxy resin through a proprietary degassing and free-radical reduction process that further improves its low yellowing and darkening performance.

The MAX epoxy resin systems are also solvent free and formulated with chemicals of a low order of toxicity, none flammable and supplied with full disclosure of its hazardous rating documented in the material safety data sheet (msds)

It is highly recommended that safety equipments, such as gloves, protective eyewear and adequate ventilation must be utilized and considered When handling these chemicals. Direct skin contact should be avoided as it may cause contact dermatitis or skin sensitization. Please review the msds and technical data sheet before using any reactive chemicals for more safety information.