Epoxy resin is one of the most versatile compounds in the market. You can pour it on almost anything and use it for virtually everything. Unsatisfied with your table's two-coat paint finish? Give it a little more gloss with epoxy resin. Need to stick two pieces of wood together for a project? Epoxy resin can do the trick too!
But putting its functions aside, another interesting thing about epoxy resin is the chemistry behind it. Understanding how epoxy resin works chemically will help you understand how this wonder compound can work either as an adhesive or a solid coat, depending on how you use it.
The chemistry of how epoxy resin works
Epoxy resin is a type of thermosetting compound that is composed of various chemicals that work together to form a bond that enables them to stick together. Two-part epoxy is a combination of epoxy and a hardener that are mixed together to create a single solution.
Since it's a thermosetting compound, a two-part epoxy sets and cures when exposed to a specific temperature for a specific duration length of time. Depending on the scope and amount of epoxy applied on a material, curing time can last for a few minutes to more than 24 hours.
Both adhesive and solid coat
The chemical bond in epoxy resin is firm which gives it the ability to stick together until it fully dries. When it is dried on open air, the chemicals stick together to form a shiny solid coat. However, when placed between two materials, such as wood or fiber glass, the chemicals bond together to stick to the pores of the materials and solidifies in place. This is why epoxy resin is virtually impossible to remove when used as an adhesive.
Impossible to "uncure"
Once epoxy resin is poured, cured and solidifies on a material, it's impossible to revert it to its liquid state. Epoxy resin is solidifies when in contact with heat, resistant to chemicals and is an electrical insulator. This is why once it's cured, it can never be "uncured".
Importance of proper and cautious application
Preparation and caution are important when using epoxy resin. It is advised to cover your entire work area with plastic, use disposable clothing and protective gloves when using epoxy resin. Once it is applied on a surface, epoxy resin can be hard to remove, which is why it should be applied carefully as much as possible.
As for its curing time, it's important to follow the manufacturers' instructions on the recommended temperature and time. These instructions can usually be found on product manuals and the manufacturers' website
With proper application, and understanding of how epoxy resin works, pros and beginners alike can properly use this compound to their advantage. From boat fixing, to furniture repair, all the way to art decor making, epoxy resin can work wonders on any surface it is applied to.
It doesn't matter whether you're an artist looking to explore on other materials, or a jewelry maker looking for a reliable adhesive to use, epoxy resin can be the product that will change the way you do your future projects. Usually, it just takes proper application and curing to see how epoxy can turn any project from ordinary to spectacular.