Most people have probably seen epoxy in its cured plastic form, even if they didn't recognize it.
But what actually is epoxy? How do people make this strange glasslike material from a bunch of different chemicals?
In this article we'll explain what epoxy is, and how it is created.
What is epoxy?
As a term, "epoxy" is a bit vague.
Commonly, the word epoxy refers to the cured (hardened) form of a group of polymers called epoxy resins.
The science behind this can go deep, but essentially what makes epoxy resins work is that they are highly reactive under certain conditions at a molecular level, and that trait allows them to spontaneously bond with other epoxy resins or (in the case of two-part epoxies) a secondary component called a hardener.
This two-component bonding reaction is what people who work with epoxy are likely familiar with.
It involves mixing epoxy resin and a hardener to generate an exothermic reaction, which simply means that the two components are combining with each other at a molecular level, continuously releasing heat as they cure.
In chemistry, curing is a process of transforming a polymer from a soft or liquid state to a hardened solid state.
For epoxy resin, curing is usually induced through heat.
The exothermic reaction mentioned above is the source of the heat in most cases. It causes the epoxy mixture to gradually harden until—ideally—it has become an incredibly durable plastic.
Epoxy resin is classified as a thermosetting polymer. This means that it cures through heat and that the process is permanent—It can't be fully reverted to its previous liquid state.
Though cured epoxy is found in many forms, each used for different purposes, the one most people may know is called table top epoxy.
Table top epoxy is a hyper-durable epoxy with a glasslike finish, which is used to preserve and protect softer or weaker objects and materials from physical damage such as scratching, denting, and breaking, as well as other types of damage such as from certain chemicals or moisture.
What is epoxy used for?
Due to its versatility, epoxy has many different uses.
Sometimes it is used to repair damaged constructs. For instance, a rotting wooden column can be cleaned out and filled with epoxy to restore its integrity, allowing it to continue functioning as a support for heavy weight without yielding.
At other times, epoxy is used to provide a layer of protection for something on display or otherwise subject to frequent human interaction.
A good example of this would be a kitchen countertop.
Many homeowners will choose to build an epoxy countertop in their kitchen because epoxy is naturally clear and can display the beauty of any material it covers while simultaneously safeguarding it from damage normally caused by hard impacts, scratching, and moisture.
Still others see epoxy primarily as a means to express themselves creatively. There are numerous artists who create epoxy arts and crafts using resin molds or through custom sculpting of cured epoxy itself.
If that's something that interests you, you may find our Resin Jewelry guide useful.
In fact, by using special color additives such as mica powder pigments or resin dyes, many artists will create unique jewelry, molded figures (e.g., animal figurines), and handy utility items like epoxy coasters, charcuterie boards, and trays.
Where is the best place to get epoxy?
Epoxy resin has a reliable chemical formula that works great when produced properly by diligent manufacturers.
However, some dealers may employ dubious cost-cutting measures when creating their own resins.
A problem that often occurs as a result of these measures is that the quality of the epoxy resin suffers, and it doesn't cure as well as it should. It may have trouble solidifying, or it may be more susceptible to cracks and other forms of damage in the long term.
While epoxy resin that meets conventional standards is deemed safe to use, not every manufacturer has the user's best interest in mind.
It's therefore important to buy your epoxy from a trustworthy brand. That's why we offer our own UltraClear Epoxy brand.
We wanted to make sure that people who need epoxy resin wouldn't worry about being sold a low-quality product.
If you've been searching for a credible epoxy brand you can trust, we'd love for you to consider our UltraClear Epoxy resins.
Our UltraClear Epoxy resins are:
- Premium-grade. With proper handling, they'll last for 7 years, minimum.
- Safe to use. We have high standards for both quality and safety.
- 100% made in the USA. Our epoxy is never imported, so it meets the regulatory standards of the United States of America.
With UltraClear Epoxy, we want you to have peace of mind, knowing that the product you receive is safe to use and dependable.
Moreover, to make sure you get the help you need, we provide all customers with comprehensive support through our expert team of resin specialists.
Have any questions or want assistance? Contact us!
At UltraClear Epoxy, we pride ourselves on providing top-notch customer service.
If you have questions about epoxy, or if you'd like assistance in planning an epoxy project or gathering the necessary supplies, please reach out to us.
You can contact us via email or phone here.
During business hours, you can also chat directly online with one of our epoxy experts by clicking the Help button at the bottom right of your screen.