Although Epoxy Resin is used in a variety of applications due to its unique properties (composites, adhesives, insulation, paint and coating, and resin flooring), some points are common to all these different applications when working with it and should be followed. to be observed In this article, we review 10 golden tips for working with Epoxy Resin.
10 Golden tips for working with Epoxy Resin:
1- Epoxy resin needs curing agent or hardener to harden.
- The curing agent is usually referred to as epoxy hardener. The ratio of adding hardener to resin is determined based on their functional groups.
- If the amount of hardener added to the epoxy resin is less or more than the required amount, problems arise.
- Among these problems, we can point out that the epoxy resin is not completely cured and remains sticky, the excess hardener remains on the surface, the long/fast curing time, and the failure to reach the required final properties of the epoxy resin.
2- It is necessary to add a Hardener to cure Epoxy Resin.
In addition to respecting the mixing ratio of resin and hardener, it is very important to ensure that they are completely mixed and create a completely uniform mixture. For this purpose, it is recommended to observe the mixing time and use the appropriate tools. For example, drill mixers are used to install epoxy floors. If the mixing is not done completely, problems will appear in the final product. Among other things, some areas are not fully cured and remain sticky on the surface.
Read more: Epoxy flooring tools and equipment
3- Another important point is observing the curing temperature of epoxy resin.
Epoxy resins exist in liquid and solid states. Meanwhile, the use of liquid epoxy resin is more common in general applications. Depending on the type of hardener used, the temperature required to perform the curing reaction is different. The curing reaction speed of epoxy resin is dependent on the temperature, and on average, for every 10°C increase in temperature, the curing speed doubles. Now, if the reaction temperature is lower than the minimum temperature required for epoxy resin curing, the reaction will not happen. For example, it is not recommended to install epoxy flooring at temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.
4- The reaction of epoxy resin with hardener depends on temperature and takes place at a specific time.
Therefore, it should be noted that the time to work with the materials after mixing the two components is limited. This time is called pot life and is different based on the type of product and its curing system. It is important to know the working time( pot life) of the epoxy product and not to work with the material after this time. For example, when installing epoxy flooring, after mixing the resin and hardener, you have less than an hour to apply the material on the surface and level it (the exact time is announced by the product manufacturer in its technical data sheet).
5- The speed of reaching the final properties depends on the temperature at which the reaction is carried out.
The speed of reaching its final properties also depends on the temperature at which the reaction is carried out. Although the initial curing reaction of epoxy resin takes place in the first few hours (depending on the type of product), on average, it takes about 7 days at a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius for the product to reach its final properties.
6- Epoxy resin is waterproof and impermeable.
What is less mentioned is its sensitivity to moisture and water before the curing reaction. In other words, if water is somehow added to the resin and hardener mixture (the relative humidity of the air is high, the concrete on which the epoxy floor is installed is wet, etc.), its final properties will be affected. For example, interlayer adhesion in epoxy flooring will be reduced. Of course, note that this issue applies to solvent-based epoxy resin and there is no such problem for water-based epoxy resin.
7- Tools are needed to implement products based on epoxy resin, depending on the type of product.
Many of these tools are disposable and are thrown away after use. But in the case of tools such as smoothing machines, stirrers, etc., these tools need to be washed after working with epoxy resin. Due to being impregnated with a mixture of resin and hardener, if the materials are not cleaned, they will dry on their surface and will not be usable anymore. The important point when washing tools is to use suitable solvents for epoxy resin. Epoxy thinners are commercially available and you can get them from hardware stores and paint stores.
Also read: Epoxy Flooring Equipment
8- Epoxy resin, its hardener, and washing thinners are all chemicals.
Therefore, it is very important to follow the safety tips based on the level of each risk. The method of working with the products and the first aid for each in case of a possible accident are included in the safety information sheet of the products. Among the general cases of these tips, we can mention the use of work clothes (up to the wrists and feet), masks (depending on the type of product), and work gloves. The work method should be such that the materials do not come into contact with the skin. In case of contact, it should be quickly removed from the skin by cleansing and washing completely with soap and water.
9- Not smoking or lighting a flame in the place where materials are stored or during their installation.
Epoxy resin and its thinner are highly flammable and even if there is a spark, there is a possibility of its flaming. Even used equipment such as drill mixers should be checked for sparks to prevent accidents.
Epoxy resins are used in a wide variety of applications due to their unique properties such as high hardness and strength, excellent adhesion to all types of surfaces, and creating an impermeable and waterproof surface. Observing the technical and safety points mentioned before is very important in achieving the mentioned properties. Do not forget that the safety of the employees and the employer is always a priority and the slightest negligence can lead to very large losses.