Exploring the Uses of Epoxy Adhesives
Epoxy adhesives are popular binding solutions as they durably join a wide variety of components made of metal, wood, glass, concrete, ceramics, and numerous plastics. To select the right epoxy for your specific project, it helps to understand them and the different types available. Read on to learn about epoxy uses and the advantages these adhesives offer diverse applications.
Epoxy Adhesives Explained
So, what are epoxy adhesives? These structural adhesives consist of epoxy resins mixed with curing agents that harden to form bonds between components. Epoxies are available with multiple curing options ranging from ambient temperatures to moderate heat, or even radiation via ultraviolet (UV) light.
Epoxy adhesives manufacturers offer them in either one- or two-component packages based on the curing technique and agent type. For the one-component variety, manufacturers mix all epoxy ingredients together prior to packaging it as these adhesives are pre-catalyzed and require heat application to cure. Two-component epoxies, alternatively, are packaged together but kept separate within their containers because these epoxy adhesives cure quickly at room temperature.
Regarding the resins in these adhesives, there are several options available, and the type that the manufacturer uses will define the basic properties of your glue. Depending on your project, certain resins will be more applicable than others. Flexible resin, for example, best serves applications that involve movement. Likewise, if your adhesive needs to maintain its bond strength in the presence of high temperatures, you should select a resin with optimal thermal resistance.
Uses of Epoxy Adhesives
One- and two-component epoxies benefit a variety of industries. Epoxy adhesives have widespread applications in:
- Aerospace. Epoxies excel in this industry due to their mechanical characteristics. For rugged applications in everything from commercial flights to military planes, epoxies maintain strong bonds and resist creep despite fluctuating or extreme temperatures, moisture levels, loads, and pressures.
- Automotive. This sector often uses epoxies in addition to an alternate bonding method. For example, a car manufacturer might use both epoxy and point welding when producing car bodies. Not only does this help distribute weight in the body but it also minimizes corrosion and joint aging.
- Construction. Epoxy adhesives are common in construction for structural applications, typically in bonding steel materials. These bonds are so strong that workers can use them to join viaduct or even bridge sections, and they can serve in place of metal bolts or screws while still achieving sufficient load and temperature resistance for these projects. They help strengthen or reinforce components like columns, beams, plates, and carbon laminates.
- Semiconductors. This subsection of the electronics industry can manufacture smaller, faster integrated and printed circuit boards using epoxies given their insulative properties, thermal conductivity, and ability to withstand extreme heat.
- Shipbuilding. Epoxies’ ability to handle stress, thermal fluctuations, and deformation allows them to form rugged bonds for naval engineering. They can join thin materials while increasing loading space.
Benefits of Epoxy Adhesives
Fully cured epoxy creates some of the strongest industrial bonds possible, with a world record of lifting a truck that weighed 17,500 kilograms. Even when exposed to heavy loads, they resist creeping and display lasting stability. Expoxies also serve as a good option for filling voids, and, with epoxies varying in curing method and speed, they’re a versatile adhesive option.
Part of their strength lies in how they handle:
- Chemicals. The resins commonly in epoxy adhesives offer high chemical resistance, which reduces the chance of corrosion. Depending on the formulation, you can even alter the epoxy to tolerate full chemical immersion.
- Electricity. As mentioned, one significant advantage of epoxies is their supreme electrical insulation properties, which makes them a perfect fit for electronic applications.
- Heat. Epoxies’ chemical composition makes them naturally resistant to high temperatures. They typically withstand heat as high as 390° F, though some resins can exceed that temperature. Like with chemical resistance, manufacturers can enhance an epoxy’s heat resistance by tweaking its formulation. Epoxy adhesives are thermally conductive, as well.
- Moisture. Contributing to their bond strength is the fact that epoxies can achieve watertight seals and joints that prevent moisture from breaching any gaps to weaken adhesion.
Reliable Epoxies From Robert McKeown Company
For a strong, lasting adhesive with wide-ranging resistance capabilities, epoxies are an ideal option. Robert McKeown Company, Inc. has been distributing reliable, high-performance engineered materials since 1937. Our family-owned company excels in product design and redesign in-house, maintaining high inventory to allow us to address your challenges and customize a solution for your specific application, all with a low order minimum and fast results. To learn more about the products we offer and our capabilities, contact us today.