Despite the benefits of epoxy resins, it is an unavoidable fact that epoxy is not easy to work with — mostly because many epoxies cure at elevated temperatures. Understanding the characteristics of epoxy and how it cures can help users, says the engineering team at Powerblanket in Salt Lake City.
Epoxy is made of a chemical reaction between epoxide resins and hardening agents. These resins react in a way that creates a strong adhesive bond — a sort of super glue in a sense. In turn, this epoxy adhesive can be applied to many products and materials, including cars, boats, countertops and flooring.
For epoxy to act as a vital element of industrial bonding and coating, it must first undergo a process of curing. As noted previously, epoxy only gets its practical use from a chemical reaction. This reaction takes time and requires specific conditions to produce the desired result. Epoxy curing can be achieved when a number of factors are satisfied, including proper preparation of the material upon which the epoxy lies, dryness (in most conditions), uniform application of the epoxy, proper mixing of the epoxy and warm temperatures.
Perhaps the most important prerequisite for epoxy to cure properly is a warm temperature — a heat above room temperature. Many epoxies require a temperature well above ambient for the proper curing range. This means that curing processes often involve heatboxes or large ovens to achieve and maintain the ideal temperature.
When curing epoxy, applicators must apply a constant, specific temperature to the localized region of epoxy. Some common ways to do this include:
- Containing the epoxy in a room and adding hot air.
- Using a thermostat-controlled heatbox.
- Storing epoxy materials in a warm area on a hot day.
- Submerging the epoxy under hot water.
While these methods may speed the curing process, they can cause the epoxy to become fragile, brittle or weak in its hardened state. The best bet is a controlled source of heat that is easily applied. When other sources of heating just will not do, the heating blanket technology can provide a safe, efficient way to keep epoxy at the curing temperature.
Heating blankets provide uniform, controlled heat where it is most needed. In addition to helping facilitate epoxy curing, heating blankets can be used for temperature maintenance and freeze protection for epoxy and other materials such as paint during the freezing winter months.
Manufacturers usually offer blankets, both for curing and storage, in a variety of sizes, says the heating blanket maker. To learn more from Powerblanket, visit www.powerblanket.com