Two-part epoxy resins are a great way to begin using plastics in many of the speciality applications. The epoxy mixture consists of a base and a resin which is used as a thickener. These two are mixed and once done, they can be poured into any moulds, shapes, forms etc. Epoxy adhesives can be easily purchased from any local or online store.
Epoxy resins are available in variety of formulas that are designed to carter the adhesive or coating needs for any particular type of project. For the sake of explaining the previous statement, we can consider the application of jewellery: Epoxy resins are used in jewellery as an adhesive, coating etc. Since, the material alongside which the epoxy is being used with is unique, the formulation of the resins that is being used for jewellery is different from the epoxy resins that is designed to be used with wood. This article briefly discusses the safety parameters that one must consider when working with epoxy resins and also how to work with them in order to get the best out of them.
Safety Considerations while working with Epoxy Adhesives
Epoxy resins are generally non-toxic. Once cured, epoxy resins are completely safe and do not pose any threat of irritation. However, when in liquid state, both the base and the resin are skin and eye irritants. Once mixed, they initiate an exothermic reaction that also sometimes produces fumes, which is highly unpredictable and depends on certain factors. In order to avoid these, it is advised to have a space dedicated for working with epoxy resins, with all safety parameters considered. There must be fume hoods to vent out the fumes and keep the fresh air circulating and proper ventilation for the air to get in. Additionally, safety goggles and nitrile gloves can be used as PPE for oneself.
Working with Epoxy Resins
Epoxy adhesives come with two main components: Resin and a hardener. These components must be mixed together in proper ratios as advised by the manufacturer. Improper ratios and mixing will cause the resin not to cure and hence the mixture might go to waste.
When mixing or preparing the resin in large quantities, it is advisable to use a weighing scale to measure both resin and hardeners so as to achieve the ratio as mentioned by the manufacturers. Some people like to incorporate colour in the epoxy adhesive mixture; Therefore, the resin must be weighed with the colour together so as to get a proper mixture.
Cure time is the time it takes for the mixture to completely harden and feel dry by touch. The epoxy resins have various curing depending on the use it is intended for. For instance, epoxy adhesives have very small curing time. The resins that are usually used for filling and decorative purposes have a longer setting time. It is also important to remove the air bubbles before the mixture completely sets.