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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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.
Epoxy resins or similar resins such as polyester, polyurethane acrylics are members of the plastic polymer family. It can be further classified into two commercially significant groups: thermo-set resins and thermoplastics polymers.
Thermoplastics are polymers commercially supplied 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 the solid resin with the proper 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 thermoplastic polymers are recyclable plastic bottles that can be remelted with heat and reformed to a new form.
Candle wax is solid at room temperature and 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). Once the solvent evaporates, the thermoplastic reverts back to a solid phase.
The next type of polymer classification is thermoset polymers. These are generally supplied as a liquid but can also be a solid powder or thick paste. To induce physical change, an addition of another agent such as a catalyst or a curing agent is added. In powder coating, heat is used to begin the curing process that first melts the powder into a liquid to create a continuous film and activates the curing process that converts it to a permanent solid. In two-component room temperature cured resins, the resin and curing agent are mixed uniformly in the proper mix ratio to initiate the cure to a solid form. Once the chemical reaction is complete, the cured resin cannot be reverted back to its liquid components. This reaction is called polymerization
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, 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 their properties through a wide range of service temperatures. 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 SYSTEMS are 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. Our resin systems are non-flammable and supplied with full disclosure of its hazardous rating documented in the SAFETY DATA SHEETS
It is highly recommended that safety equipment, 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 SDS and technical data sheet before using any reactive chemicals for more safety information.