Beginners Guide: The basics of Epoxy Resins

An introduction to Epoxy

Using Epoxy ResinsWhen strength is a top priority, fabricators rely on epoxy resins to give their parts top of the line physical properties. Epoxy resins provide fabricators with high performance, lightweight parts that are great for the automotive and aerospace industries. But what is epoxy, what role does it play in fabrication? And (perhaps most importantly) is it right for your project?

 Resins in Composites

Composite laminates are a combination of two separate parts; a reinforcing fiber along with an accompanying resin. The reinforcing fibers will build the bulk of your composite part, contributing to the strength, durability and physical characteristics of the finished part. You can read more about reinforcing fabrics in our Beginners Guide to Composite Fabrics blog. So what role does the resin play in the finished part? Resins generally hold the reinforcement together and help it conform to a desired shape. It also helps transfer mechanical loads across the composite part, to help ease localized stress areas.

Epoxy resins will generally provide you the highest strength for your part, in addition to greater dimensional stability and increased bonding with other materials. These physical properties come at a price, as epoxy resins are often more expensive than other laminating resins.

Pot Life of Epoxy Resins

When working with Epoxy laminating resins, you will often hear the term “pot life.” This refers to the hardener used for catalyzation. It gives you the time it will take for the initial mixed viscosity to double. As the viscosity increases, the ability for it to be applied and worked decreases. So for a 25 minute pot life, a fabricator will have 25 minutes before the epoxy begins to thicken.

Types of Epoxy Resins

For epoxies, there is no “one-size-fits-all.” There are a number of types, each with its own strengths and uses when working with composites. Below, you’ll find some of Fibre Glast’s product line of Epoxies, along with a brief overview of what you can expect from them.

System 1000

Room Temperature Epoxy ResinsSystem 1000 epoxy resins is an easy to use resin, with two different pot life’s that can be used for a variety of projects. This system has a very low mixed viscosity, so it will quickly wet out fiberglass, carbon and aramid fibers, allowing for a more rapid fabrication. It is available with a 10 and 25 minute pot life. For detailed information on our product, be sure to check out the System 1000 store page.

NameColorMixed ViscosityCured HardnessTensile StrengthElongation at Yield Flexural Strength
System 1000, 10 minute pot lifeLight Amber900 cps87 Shore D46168 psi1.8%46382 psi
System 1000, 25 minute pot lifeLight Amber500 cps86 Shore D42784 psi7.68%44688 psi

System 2000

Using Epoxy ResinsSystem 2000 epoxy resin is a medium viscosity resin that offers the highest ultimate strength for room temperature epoxies. Fabricators will often use this for projects that demand high strength properties, such as structural applications. It is available with a 20, 60, and 120 minute pot life. For detailed information on our product, be sure to check out the System 2000 store page.

NameColorMixed ViscosityCured HardnessTensile StrengthElongation at YieldFlexural Strength
System 2000, 20 minute pot lifeLight Amber950-975 cps86-88 Shore D45326 psi1.93%65308 psi
System 2000, 60 minute pot lifeLight Amber900-950 cps88 Shore D45170 psi1.96%62285 psi
System 2000, 120 minute pot lifeLight Amber925-975 cps87 Shore D45870 psi1.98%66667 psi

High Temperature Epoxy

Below, you will find our selection of high temperature epoxy resins. These will often be used for parts that need to operate in intermediate to high temperature service environments. As these products require a ramp up in temperature in order to cure, they are generally harder to work with than their room temperature counterparts.

System 3000

High Temperature Epoxy ResinsSystem 3000 High Temperature Epoxy resin is great for parts that are expected to withstand a great deal of heat, capable of withstanding temperatures up to 309°F. Cure requires a ramp up cure schedule requiring at most 300°F, which is mandatory where continuous service temperatures are expected to be over 250°F. For detailed information on our product, be sure to check out the System 3000 store page.

NameColorMixed ViscosityCured HardnessTensile StrengthElongation at YieldFlexural Strength
System 3000Amber1500 cps88 Shore D36500 psi1.7-1.9%52600 psi

System 3300

Using Epoxy ResinsSystem 3300 High Temp Tooling Epoxy is excellent for high performance, high temperature composite tooling. This resin will provide long term service during high temp cure cycle environments. It is often used when created molds with prepreg parts, or for other applications where strength and stability are key. For detailed information on our product, be sure to check out the System 3300 store page.

NameColorMixed ViscosityCured HardnessTensile StrengthElongation at YieldFlexural Strength
System 3300Amber3000-350092 Shore D (at 77°F) 87 Shore D (at 300°F)30880 psi1.57%47649

Interested in learning more about resins? Check out our other blogs, Polyester vs Vinyl Ester Resins, and Choosing the Right Resin. You can also check out our white paper, About Resins, over at the Fibre Glast Learning Center.

Any other questions? Let us know in the comments section below. Be sure to check out our Facebook, and follow us on twitter @Fibreglast for more information the composites industry.

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