Epoxy
Overview
 
Epoxy, also known as polyepoxide, is a thermosetting polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 formed from reaction of an epoxide
Epoxide
An epoxide is a cyclic ether with three ring atoms. This ring approximately defines an equilateral triangle, which makes it highly strained. The strained ring makes epoxides more reactive than other ethers. Simple epoxides are named from the parent compound ethylene oxide or oxirane, such as in...

 "resin" with polyamine
Polyamine
A polyamine is an organic compound having two or more primary amino groups .This class of compounds includes several synthetic substances that are important feedstocks for the chemical industry, such as ethylene diamine , 1,3-diaminopropane , and hexamethylenediamine...

 "hardener". Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including fiber-reinforced plastic
Fibre-reinforced plastic
Fibre-reinforced plastic is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. The fibres are usually fibreglass, carbon, or aramid, while the polymer is usually an epoxy, vinylester or polyester thermosetting plastic...

 materials and general purpose adhesives.
Epoxy is a copolymer; that is, it is formed from two different chemicals. These are referred to as the "resin" or "compound" and the "hardener" or "activator".
Encyclopedia
Epoxy, also known as polyepoxide, is a thermosetting polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 formed from reaction of an epoxide
Epoxide
An epoxide is a cyclic ether with three ring atoms. This ring approximately defines an equilateral triangle, which makes it highly strained. The strained ring makes epoxides more reactive than other ethers. Simple epoxides are named from the parent compound ethylene oxide or oxirane, such as in...

 "resin" with polyamine
Polyamine
A polyamine is an organic compound having two or more primary amino groups .This class of compounds includes several synthetic substances that are important feedstocks for the chemical industry, such as ethylene diamine , 1,3-diaminopropane , and hexamethylenediamine...

 "hardener". Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including fiber-reinforced plastic
Fibre-reinforced plastic
Fibre-reinforced plastic is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. The fibres are usually fibreglass, carbon, or aramid, while the polymer is usually an epoxy, vinylester or polyester thermosetting plastic...

 materials and general purpose adhesives.

Chemistry

Epoxy is a copolymer; that is, it is formed from two different chemicals. These are referred to as the "resin" or "compound" and the "hardener" or "activator". The resin consists of monomers or short chain polymers with an epoxide group
Epoxide
An epoxide is a cyclic ether with three ring atoms. This ring approximately defines an equilateral triangle, which makes it highly strained. The strained ring makes epoxides more reactive than other ethers. Simple epoxides are named from the parent compound ethylene oxide or oxirane, such as in...

 at either end. Most common epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between epichlorohydrin
Epichlorohydrin
Epichlorohydrin is an organochlorine compound and an epoxide. This is a colorless liquid with a pungent, garlic-like odor, moderately soluble in water, but miscible with most polar organic solvents. Epichlorohydrin is a highly reactive compound and is used in the production of glycerol, plastics,...

 and bisphenol-A
Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications....

, though the latter may be replaced by similar chemicals. The hardener consists of polyamine monomers, for example Triethylenetetramine (TETA). When these compounds are mixed together, the amine groups react with the epoxide groups to form a covalent bond. Each NH group can react with an epoxide group, so that the resulting polymer is heavily crosslinked, and is thus rigid and strong.

The process of polymerization is called "curing", and can be controlled through temperature, choice of resin and hardener compounds, and the ratio of said compounds; the process can take minutes to hours. Some formulations benefit from heating during the cure period, whereas others simply require time and ambient temperatures.

History

The first commercial attempts to prepare resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

s from epichlorohydrin were made in 1927 in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Credit for the first synthesis of bisphenol-A-based epoxy resins is shared by Dr. Pierre Castan of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 and Dr. S.O. Greenlee of the United States in 1936. Dr. Castan's work was licensed by Ciba
Ciba Specialty Chemicals
Ciba was a chemical company based in and near Basel, Switzerland. "Ciba" stood for "Chemische Industrie Basel" . It was formed as the non-pharmaceuticals elements of Novartis were spun out in 1997, following the merger in the previous year of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz that created Novartis.In 2008,...

, Ltd. of Switzerland, which went on to become one of the three major epoxy resin producers worldwide. Ciba's epoxy business was spun off and later sold in the late 1990s and is now the advanced materials business unit
Strategic business unit
In essence, the SBU is a profit making area that focuses on a combination of product offer and market segment, requiring its own marketing plan, competitor analysis, and marketing campaign.A Strategic Business Unit emerges at the cross-over between:...

 of Huntsman Corporation of the United States. Dr. Greenlee's work was for the firm of Devoe-Reynolds of the United States. Devoe-Reynolds, which was active in the early days of the epoxy resin industry, was sold to Shell Chemical
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 (now Momentive Specialty Chemicals, formerly Hexion, Resolution Polymers and others).

Applications

The applications for epoxy-based materials are extensive and include coatings, adhesive
Adhesive
An adhesive, or glue, is a mixture in a liquid or semi-liquid state that adheres or bonds items together. Adhesives may come from either natural or synthetic sources. The types of materials that can be bonded are vast but they are especially useful for bonding thin materials...

s and composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s such as those using carbon fiber
Carbon fiber
Carbon fiber, alternatively graphite fiber, carbon graphite or CF, is a material consisting of fibers about 5–10 μm in diameter and composed mostly of carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are bonded together in crystals that are more or less aligned parallel to the long axis of the fiber...

 and fiberglass
Fiberglass
Glass fiber is a material consisting of numerous extremely fine fibers of glass.Glassmakers throughout history have experimented with glass fibers, but mass manufacture of glass fiber was only made possible with the invention of finer machine tooling...

 reinforcements (although polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

, vinyl ester, and other thermosetting resin
Resin
Resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents; as an important source of raw materials...

s are also used for glass-reinforced plastic). The chemistry of epoxies and the range of commercially available variations allows cure polymers to be produced with a very broad range of properties. In general, epoxies are known for their excellent adhesion, chemical and heat resistance, good-to-excellent mechanical properties and very good electrical insulating properties. Many properties of epoxies can be modified (for example silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

-filled epoxies with good electrical conductivity are available, although epoxies are typically electrically insulating). Variations offering high thermal insulation, or thermal conductivity combined with high electrical resistance for electronics applications, are available.

Paints and coatings

Two part epoxy coatings were developed for heavy duty service on metal substrates and use less energy than heat-cured powder coating
Powder coating
thumb|right|Aluminium extrusions being powder coatedPowder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler...

s. These systems use a 4:1 by volume mixing ratio, and dry quickly providing a tough, protective coating with excellent hardness. Their low volatility and water clean up makes them useful for factory cast iron, cast steel, cast aluminium applications and reduces exposure and flammability issues associated with solvent-borne coatings. They are usually used in industrial and automotive applications since they are more heat resistant than latex-based and alkyd-based paints. Epoxy paints tend to deteriorate, known as chalk out, due to UV exposure.

Polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

 epoxies are used as powder coating
Powder coating
thumb|right|Aluminium extrusions being powder coatedPowder coating is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. The main difference between a conventional liquid paint and a powder coating is that the powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler...

s for washers, driers and other "white goods". Fusion Bonded Epoxy Powder Coatings
Fusion bonded epoxy coating
Fusion bonded epoxy coating, also known as fusion-bond epoxy powder coating and commonly referred to as FBE coating, is an epoxy based powder coating that is widely used to protect steel pipe used in pipeline construction, concrete reinforcing bars and on a wide variety of piping connections,...

 (FBE) are extensively used for corrosion protection of steel pipes and fittings used in the oil and gas industry, potable water transmission pipelines (steel), concrete reinforcing rebar
Rebar
A rebar , also known as reinforcing steel, reinforcement steel, rerod, or a deformed bar, is a common steel bar, and is commonly used as a tensioning device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures holding the concrete in compression...

, et cetera. Epoxy coatings are also widely used as primers
Primer (paint)
A primer is a preparatory coating put on materials before painting. Priming ensures better adhesion of paint to the surface, increases paint durability, and provides additional protection for the material being painted.-When primers are used:...

 to improve the adhesion of automotive and marine paints especially on metal surfaces where corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 (rusting) resistance is important. Metal cans and containers are often coated with epoxy to prevent rusting, especially for foods like tomatoes that are acid
Acid
An acid is a substance which reacts with a base. Commonly, acids can be identified as tasting sour, reacting with metals such as calcium, and bases like sodium carbonate. Aqueous acids have a pH of less than 7, where an acid of lower pH is typically stronger, and turn blue litmus paper red...

ic. Epoxy resins are also used for high performance and decorative flooring applications especially terrazzo
Terrazzo
Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical or a combination of both...

 flooring, chip flooring and colored aggregate flooring.

Adhesives

Epoxy adhesive
Adhesive
An adhesive, or glue, is a mixture in a liquid or semi-liquid state that adheres or bonds items together. Adhesives may come from either natural or synthetic sources. The types of materials that can be bonded are vast but they are especially useful for bonding thin materials...

s are a major part of the class of adhesives called "structural adhesives" or "engineering adhesives" (that includes polyurethane
Polyurethane
A polyurethane is any polymer composed of a chain of organic units joined by carbamate links. Polyurethane polymers are formed through step-growth polymerization, by reacting a monomer with another monomer in the presence of a catalyst.Polyurethanes are...

, acrylic, cyanoacrylate
Cyanoacrylate
Cyanoacrylate is the generic name for cyanoacrylate based fast-acting adhesives such as methyl 2-cyanoacrylate, ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate , and n-butyl cyanoacrylate...

, and other chemistries.) These high-performance adhesives are used in the construction of aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, boats, golf clubs, skis, snowboards, and other applications where high strength bonds are required. Epoxy adhesives can be developed to suit almost any application. They can be used as adhesives for wood, metal, glass, stone, and some plastics. They can be made flexible or rigid, transparent or opaque
Opacity (optics)
Opacity is the measure of impenetrability to electromagnetic or other kinds of radiation, especially visible light. In radiative transfer, it describes the absorption and scattering of radiation in a medium, such as a plasma, dielectric, shielding material, glass, etc...

/colored, fast setting or slow setting. Epoxy adhesives are better in heat and chemical resistance than other common adhesives. In general, epoxy adhesives cured with heat will be more heat- and chemical-resistant than those cured at room temperature. The strength of epoxy adhesives is degraded at temperatures above 350 °F (176.7 °C).

Some epoxies are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

. Such epoxies are commonly used in optics
Optics
Optics is the branch of physics which involves the behavior and properties of light, including its interactions with matter and the construction of instruments that use or detect it. Optics usually describes the behavior of visible, ultraviolet, and infrared light...

, fiber optics
Optical fiber
An optical fiber is a flexible, transparent fiber made of a pure glass not much wider than a human hair. It functions as a waveguide, or "light pipe", to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber. The field of applied science and engineering concerned with the design and application of...

, optoelectronics
Optoelectronics
Optoelectronics is the study and application of electronic devices that source, detect and control light, usually considered a sub-field of photonics. In this context, light often includes invisible forms of radiation such as gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet and infrared, in addition to visible light...

, and dentistry
Dentistry
Dentistry is the branch of medicine that is involved in the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area and the adjacent and associated structures and their impact on the human body. Dentistry is widely considered...

.

Industrial tooling and composites

Epoxy systems are used in industrial tooling applications to produce molds
Molding (process)
Molding or moulding is the process of manufacturing by shaping pliable raw material using a rigid frame or model called a pattern....

, master models, laminate
Laminate
A laminate is a material that can be constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and gluing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an...

s, casting
Casting
In metalworking, casting involves pouring liquid metal into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowing it to cool and solidify. The solidified part is also known as a casting, which is ejected or broken out of the mold to complete the process...

s, fixtures
Fixture (tool)
A fixture is a work-holding or support device used in the manufacturing industry. What makes a fixture unique is that each one is built to fit a particular part or shape. The main purpose of a fixture is to locate and in some cases hold a workpiece during either a machining operation or some...

, and other industrial production aids. This "plastic tooling" replaces metal, wood and other traditional materials, and generally improves the efficiency and either lowers the overall cost or shortens the lead-time for many industrial processes. Epoxies are also used in producing fiber-reinforced or composite parts. They are more expensive than polyester resins and vinyl ester resins, but usually produce stronger and more temperature-resistant composite parts.

Electrical systems and electronics

Epoxy resin formulations are important in the electronics industry, and are employed in motors, generators, transformers, switchgear, bushings, and insulators. Epoxy resins are excellent electrical insulators and protect electrical components from short circuiting, dust and moisture. In the electronics industry epoxy resins are the primary resin used in overmolding integrated circuit
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

s, transistor
Transistor
A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and power. It is composed of a semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current...

s and hybrid circuit
Hybrid circuit
A hybrid integrated circuit, HIC, hybrid microcircuit, or simply hybrid is a miniaturized electronic circuit constructed of individual devices, such as semiconductor devices and passive components , bonded to a substrate or printed circuit board...

s, and making printed circuit boards. The largest volume type of circuit board—an "FR-4
FR-4
FR-4 is a grade designation assigned to glass-reinforced epoxy laminate sheets, tubes, rods and printed circuit boards . FR-4 is a composite material composed of woven fiberglass cloth with an epoxy resin binder that is flame resistant .FR-4 glass epoxy is a popular and versatile high-pressure...

 board"—is a sandwich of layers of glass cloth bonded into a composite by an epoxy resin. Epoxy resins are used to bond copper foil to circuit board substrates, and are a component of the solder mask on many circuit boards.

Flexible epoxy resins are used for potting transformers and inductors. By using vacuum impregnation on uncured epoxy, winding-to-winding, winding-to-core, and winding-to-insulator air voids are eliminated. The cured epoxy is an electrical insulator and a much better conductor of heat than air. Transformer and inductor hot spots are greatly reduced, giving the component a stable and longer life than unpotted product.

Epoxy resins are applied using the technology of resin dispensing
Resin dispensing
A resin dispensing system is a technical installation to process casting resin for the purpose of filling, sealing, covering or soaking technical parts, especially in the field of electricity and electronics like transformers, LCDs and other devices of various size.Due to progressing...

.

Consumer and marine applications

Epoxies are sold in hardware stores, typically as a pack containing separate resin and hardener, which must be mixed immediately before use. They are also sold in boat shops as repair resins for marine applications. Epoxies typically are not used in the outer layer of a boat because they deteriorate by exposure to UV light. They are often used during boat repair and assembly, and then over-coated with conventional or two-part polyurethane paint or marine-varnishes that provide UV protection.

There are two main areas of marine use. Because of the better mechanical properties relative to the more common polyester resins, epoxies are used for commercial manufacture of components where a high strength/weight ratio is required. The second area is that their strength, gap filling properties and excellent adhesion to many materials including timber have created a boom in amateur building projects including aircraft and boats.

Normal gelcoat
Gelcoat
Gelcoat is a material used to provide a high-quality finish on the visible surface of a fibre-reinforced composite material. The most common gelcoats are based on epoxy or unsaturated polyester resin chemistry. Gelcoats are modified resins which are applied to moulds in the liquid state...

 formulated for use with polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

 resins and vinylester resins does not adhere to epoxy surfaces, though epoxy adheres very well if applied to polyester resin surfaces. "Flocoat" that is normally used to coat the interior of polyester fibreglass yachts is also compatible with epoxies.

Epoxy materials tend to harden somewhat more gradually, while polyester materials tend to harden quickly, particularly if a lot of catalyst is used. The chemical reactions in both cases are exothermic. Large quantities of mix will generate their own heat and greatly speed the reaction, so it is usual to mix small amounts which can be used quickly.

While it is common to associate polyester resins and epoxy resins, their properties are sufficiently different that they are properly treated as distinct materials. Polyester resins are typically low strength unless used with a reinforcing material like glass fibre, are relatively brittle unless reinforced, and have low adhesion. Epoxies, by contrast, are inherently strong, somewhat flexible and have excellent adhesion. However, polyester resins are much cheaper.

Epoxy resins typically require a precise mix of two components which form a third chemical. Depending on the properties required, the ratio may be anything from 1:1 or over 10:1, but in every case they must be mixed exactly. The final product is then a precise thermo-setting plastic. Until they are mixed the two elements are relatively inert, although the 'hardeners' tend to be more chemically active and should be protected from the atmosphere and moisture. The rate of the reaction can be changed by using different hardeners, which may change the nature of the final product, or by controlling the temperature.

By contrast, polyester resins are usually made available in a 'promoted' form, such that the progress of previously-mixed resins from liquid to solid is already underway, albeit very slowly. The only variable available to the user is to change the rate of this process using a catalyst, often Methyl-Ethyl-Ketone-Peroxide (MEKP), which is very toxic. The presence of the catalyst in the final product actually detracts from the desirable properties, so that small amounts of catalyst are preferable, so long as the hardening proceeds at an acceptable pace. The rate of cure of polyesters can therefore be controlled by the amount and type of catalyst as well as by the temperature.

As adhesives, epoxies bond in three ways: a) Mechanically, because the bonding surfaces are roughened; b) By proximity, because the cured resins are physically so close to the bonding surfaces that they are hard to separate; c) Ionically, because the epoxy resins form ionic bonds at an atomic level with the bonding surfaces. This last is substantially the strongest of the three. By contrast, polyester resins can only bond using the first two of these, which greatly reduces their utility as adhesives and in marine repair.

Aerospace applications

In the aerospace industry, epoxy is used as a structural matrix material which is then reinforced by fiber. Typical fiber reinforcements include glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

, carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

, Kevlar
Kevlar
Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires...

, and boron
Boron
Boron is the chemical element with atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B. Boron is a metalloid. Because boron is not produced by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth's crust. However, boron is concentrated on Earth by the...

.
Epoxies are also used as a structural glue
Glue
This is a list of various types of glue. Historically, the term "glue" only referred to protein colloids prepared from animal flesh. The meaning has been extended to refer to any fluid adhesive....

. Materials like wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, and others that are 'low-tech' are glued with epoxy resin.

Art

Epoxy resin, mixed with pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

, may be used as a painting medium, by pouring layers on top of each other to form a complete picture.

Industry

As of 2006, the epoxy industry amounts to more than US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

5 billion in North America and about US$15 billion worldwide. The Chinese market has been growing rapidly, and accounts for more than 30% of the total worldwide market. It is made up of approximately 50–100 manufacturers of basic or commodity
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 epoxy resins and hardeners.

These commodity epoxy manufacturers
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

 mentioned above typically do not sell epoxy resins in a form usable to smaller end users, so there is another group of companies that purchase epoxy raw materials from the major producers and then compounds (blends, modifies, or otherwise customizes) epoxy systems from these raw material
Raw material
A raw material or feedstock is the basic material from which a product is manufactured or made, frequently used with an extended meaning. For example, the term is used to denote material that came from nature and is in an unprocessed or minimally processed state. Latex, iron ore, logs, and crude...

s. These companies are known as "formulators". The majority of the epoxy systems sold are produced by these formulators and they comprise over 60% of the dollar value of the epoxy market. There are hundreds of ways that these formulators can modify epoxies—by adding mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

 fillers (talc
Talc
Talc is a mineral composed of hydrated magnesium silicate with the chemical formula H2Mg34 or Mg3Si4O102. In loose form, it is the widely-used substance known as talcum powder. It occurs as foliated to fibrous masses, its crystals being so rare as to be almost unknown...

, silica, alumina, etc.), by adding flexibilizers, viscosity
Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of the resistance of a fluid which is being deformed by either shear or tensile stress. In everyday terms , viscosity is "thickness" or "internal friction". Thus, water is "thin", having a lower viscosity, while honey is "thick", having a higher viscosity...

 reducers, colorants, thickeners, accelerators, adhesion
Adhesion
Adhesion is any attraction process between dissimilar molecular species that can potentially bring them in close contact. By contrast, cohesion takes place between similar molecules....

 promoters, etc.. These modifications are made to reduce costs, to improve performance, and to improve processing convenience. As a result a typical formulator sells dozens or even thousands of formulations—each tailored to the requirements of a particular application or market.

Impacted by the global economic slump, the epoxy market size declined to $15.8 billion in 2009, almost to the level of 2005. In some regional markets it even decreased nearly 20%. The current epoxy market is experiencing positive growth as the global economy revives. With an annual growth rate of 3.5 - 4% the epoxy market is expected to reach $17.7 billion by 2012 and $21.35 by 2015. Higher growth rate is foreseen thereafter due to stronger demands from epoxy composite market and epoxy adhesive market.

Health risks

The primary risk associated with epoxy use is sensitization to the hardener, which, over time, can induce an allergic reaction. Allergic reaction sometimes occurs at a time which is delayed several days from the exposure. Epoxy use is a main source of occupational asthma
Occupational asthma
Occupational asthma is an occupational condition defined as: "a disease characterized by variable airflow limitation and/or airway hyper-responsiveness due to causes and conditions attributable to a particular occupational environment and not stimuli encountered outside the workplace".Asthma is...

 among users of plastics. Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A
Bisphenol A is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications....

, which is used in epoxy resin, is a known endocrine disruptor
Endocrine disruptor
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders...

.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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