Epoxy resins have been around for more than 50 years, and are one of the most successful of the plastics families. Their physical state can be changed from a low viscosity liquid to a high melting point solid, which means that a wide range of materials with unique properties can be made. In the home, you’ll find them in soft-drinks cans and special packaging, where they are used as a lining to protect the contents and to keep the flavour in. They are also used as a protective coating on everything from beds, garden chairs, office and hospital furniture, to supermarket trolleys and bicycles. They are also used in special paints to protect the surfaces of ships, oil rigs and wind turbines from bad weather.
Properties of epoxy resins
The physical state of epoxy resins can range from a low viscosity liquid to a high melting point solid. They can be ‘cross-linked’ using a variety of curing agents or hardeners to form a range of materials with a unique combination of properties, which bring advantages to key industry sectors. Epoxies are known for their excellent adhesion, chemical and heat resistance, outstanding mechanical properties and very good electrical insulating properties. Many of their properties can be modified, for example silver-filled epoxies with good electrical conductivity are available, whereas epoxies are typically electrically insulating. Variations offering high thermal insulation, or thermal conductivity combined with high electrical resistance for electronics applications, are available.
Applications of epoxy resins
Applications for epoxy resins are extensive and include:
- Paints and coatings.
- Composite materials such as those using carbon fibre and fiberglass reinforcements.
- Industrial tooling and composites.
- Electrical systems and electronics.
- Consumer applications.
- Marine applications.
- Aerospace applications.
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