What is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resins are adhesives, laminating resins, coatings for grinding wheels, fire-retardant coatings, and insulating materials. Epoxy resins are used in both liquid and solid forms. Solids are often preferred because they don’t evaporate or degrade as much as liquids do over time. However, both types are used for similar purposes. The epoxy can be mixed with other materials before curing it to make it stronger, tougher, or more flexible when cured. When used as an adhesive, it can be mixed with other substances to form weak bonds or stronger bonds that are resistant to heat, water, and chemicals.
What Makes Up Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin (polyepoxides) is an organic compound containing epoxide groups. It’s made up of carbon chains that are linked to other elements, like nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen, through a covalent bond. This allows elements sharing two electrons to bond together. As a result, the polymers become elastic and tough. This makes them ideal for various applications. In other words, polyepoxide is a thermoset or thermosetting resin resulting from a reaction of two or more compounds. This means that it’s a polymer that sets or cures depending on the surrounding heat / temperature. So, all of this results in epoxy resin, a highly versatile product that can be used for a variety of applications.
What are the Types of Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin can be classified into two principal categories: non-glycidyl and glycidyl. Non-glycidyl resins can either be cyclo-aliphatic or aliphatic. On the other hand, the glycidyl type can fall under three different subcategories including: glycidyl-amine, ether, and ester. Among these, glycidyl-ether is the most common, especially those of the bisphenol and novolac epoxy types. Here are some brief descriptions of the types of epoxy resin:
Bisphenol Epoxy Resins:
Bisphenol-A diglycidyl ether is a popular commercial-grade epoxy. It is produced by reacting bisphenol-A with epichlorohydrin. This variety of epoxy resin has the lowest molecular weight.
Aliphatic Epoxy Resins:
Aliphatic epoxies are produced from either double-bond epoxidation (via cycloaliphatic epoxides and epoxidized vegetable oils) or from a reaction with epichlorohydrin (glycidyl ethers and esters). Cycloaliphatic epoxides possess one or more aliphatic rings in the molecule housing an oxirane ring. These epoxies have an aliphatic structure, high oxirane content, and are chlorine-free. They have low viscosities, good weather resistance, and low dielectric constants.
Novolac Epoxy Resins:
Novolac epoxies are produced by reacting phenol with methanol (formaldehyde). The epichlorohydrin-novolac reaction leads to the formation of Novolac epoxies with a glycidyl residue that includes epoxy phenol novolac (EPN) or epoxy cresol novolac (ECN). These resins are free from solvents and VOCs, so can be used without a respirator if needed. They have good adhesion, durability, and strength.
Halogenated Epoxy Resins:
Halogenated epoxies are mixed with other ingredients to achieve specific characteristics. Brominated and fluorinated ingredients are added to provide flame resistance (via brominated bisphenol A) and fluorinated compounds for electrical applications. One drawback of such resins is the increased cost.
Glycidyl Amine Epoxy Resins:
Glycidylamine epoxies have a high degree of functionality. They are formed based on the contact reaction between aromatic amines and epichlorohydrin. Many of these have low-medium viscosities at room temperature.
What is Epoxy Resin Used For?
Epoxy resin can be used for individual purposes and has great use within private dwellings. Because of its incredible heat-resistant property, epoxy resin is a great adhesive product for crafting items such as coasters, tumblers, bookmarks, shakers, etc. Epoxy resin can even refinish outdated or damage floors and countertops. Beyond that, epoxy resin has a variety of applications across public sectors.
Epoxies are used in the paints and coatings industry for manufacturing insulating and protective coatings for vessels, satellite systems, spacecraft, and aircraft. They, also, find applications in the renewable energy sector for coating steel and protecting structures for hydroelectric power stations.
In the wind energy sector, epoxy resin is crucial in manufacturing composites essential to large-sized windmill rotor blades. Epoxies are known to augment the strength-to-weight ratio of turbines’ structure, which makes it possible to manufacture longer blades.
Public buildings such as hospitals and food processing plants use epoxy resins to manufacture their floorings. In places like these, good hygiene is of the utmost importance. Epoxy coatings are widely used to protect floors as strong cleaners can be used for cleaning purposes without damaging the floor. Also, floorings made from epoxy resins have an inherent anti-slip structure thus preventing accidents.
What are the Benefits of Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin offers many benefits. Such advantages include:
Epoxy resin can withstand various elements. On curing, this compound can resist moisture and oil. It can, also, withstand attacks from many chemicals including acids and solvents. Additionally, it has a good tolerance for high temperatures, shock, and high vibrations.
This chemical compound can adhere to a wide range of materials. You can apply it to different materials including wood, stone, concrete, plastic, and glass. This makes it ideal for industries such as HVAC, construction, marine, and so on.
Polyepoxides tend to have a low shrinkage time during the curing stage. This helps to minimize internal stress while enhancing its adhesion to the surface.
Strong Mechanical Properties:
Compression, resilience, flexion, and tensile strength – these are just some of the mechanical properties exhibited by polyepoxides. Epoxy, in particular, has superior mechanical properties. This enables it to resist degradation over time, making it ideal for industrial uses.
Polyepoxides give surfaces a shiny gloss-clear coating. You can, also, add colors and other compounds to the resin once it cures. This gives homeowners and contractors a cost-effective option to avoid high-priced materials. More importantly, it ensures the surfaces have a superior, abrasion-resistant finish.
A Final Recap on Industrial Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin is an extremely versatile compound that has many types and purposes. Not only is it beneficial in private spaces but in public sectors as well. The benefits of epoxy resin make it a great investment. You’re guaranteed to have a use for it.