Uses of Epoxy: Epoxy is a synthetic material that is used widely in construction and various civil engineering applications. It is characterized by its long-lasting, versatility and suitable resistance to heat. This makes epoxy a viable choice for any situation where you need to glue two materials together; including: wood, metals and much more.
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So, What is Epoxy?
Epoxy is a certain type of polymers [a polymer is any of a group of naturally occurring or synthetic compounds composed of very large molecules called macromolecules, which are multiples of simpler chemical units called monomers]. Polymers’ molecular structure confers on them their toughness and flexibility, making polymers (both natural and synthetic) indispensable in daily life. Wool, rubber, and, of course, epoxy are all examples of polymers that you are probably already familiar with.
Epoxy resins are composed of epoxides [extremely reactive groups of molecules] that harden (or cure) by chemical reactions induced by the addition of other chemicals or by heating the resin to a high temperature. This is the process through which an epoxy becomes “cross linked,” or when polymer strands bond together to produce a solid structure.
Main Types of Epoxy
As mentioned earlier, there are two primary kinds of epoxy resins:
- One-part epoxy: this is the heat-cured epoxy; it cures faster than two-part epoxy but is not as strong. This type of epoxy is usually used in numerous industrial applications and not often in construction since they require a significant degree of heat to cure (at least 200oF)
- Two-part epoxy: The two components required to initiate the chemical reaction are packed separately in two-part epoxies. When the resin is combined with the hardener, the resulting material will convert over a period of up to 24 hours from a thick liquid to a putty and finally to a fully cured and hardened solid. (To remove epoxy after it has set, scrape it off, softening it if required with alcohol or paint thinner.) Two-part epoxies are especially common in construction applications.
Uses of Epoxy in Construction
The durability and strength of epoxy makes it suitable as a surface coating or sealant for materials such as concrete or wood. Resin is mixed with the hardened with ratios according to the manufacturer recommendations and then applied on the surface of substrate. It will provide protection against detrimental materials from the environment such as salt solutions, oils, etc.
When cracks run through the surface of a concrete element and are visible from both ends, the epoxy could be injected from both ends. Occasionally, the application may demand that the epoxy be made more flowable or that the epoxy be injected into the concrete using a different way. Additionally, the builder may wish to inject the epoxy more precisely than usual to ensure that it reaches the deepest area of the concrete crack. Before determining whether or not to employ the epoxy repair, you must ensure that the crack’s cause has been identified and that no further movement is permitted. When extra movement of the concrete is anticipated, the epoxy injection method is not suggested.
Epoxy floor coatings and epoxy floors are two distinct but confusingly similar treatments. While an epoxy floor coating is a thin layer of epoxy, an epoxy floor is a larger (at least two millimeters) layer of epoxy that forms an uninterrupted, glossy surface that can be painted in a number of colors. They are more prevalent in commercial building than in residential construction, as their longevity in high-traffic areas justifies the additional expense.
In comparison to an epoxy coating, an epoxy paint is an acrylic paint infused with a trace of epoxy. Although it is more durable than regular acrylic paint, it lacks the strength of real epoxy coatings. However, it is less costly and cures more quickly.