Epoxy resins are commonly used compounds in adhesives, paints, top coatings, sealers, and more. Most epoxy applications are combined with a specific curing process to ensure the finished product has the ideal characteristics for a given purpose. After the epoxy is applied, professionals can apply heat to speed up the curing process and create faster-forming chemical reactions. They can also keep the environment at lower temperatures to slow down the curing process and minimize molecular cross-linking in the epoxy.
Does Heat Weaken Epoxy?
Epoxies can generally resist moderately high temperatures, with an even higher degree of resistance if the specific compound is rated as heat-resistant. However, most cured epoxy products can only be in the presence of high temperatures for a short period. Once the temperature is too high, the epoxy will grow weak, distorting and softening until it loses its shape and glassy surface.
What Temperature Is Too Hot for Epoxy?
Epoxies come in a variety of heat-resistant options, each of which can withstand different maximum temperatures before it starts to weaken. Some of the most popular types of epoxy have these temperature maximums:
- DIY or hobby epoxies: up to approximately 150°F
- High-temperature industrial epoxies: up to approximately 450°F or more
High-heat epoxies get their heat-resistant characteristics from their base molecular structure and additives such as quartz fillers. Choose the right epoxy resin for your application based on the expected temperatures it will need to handle.
How Does Cold Weather Affect Epoxy?
Cold weather has clear effects on both in-process epoxies and cured epoxies. Here are the three most important ways cold weather can affect epoxy coatings:
1. Extending Epoxy Curing Time
The lower the temperature, the longer the epoxy will take to cure. This can be advantageous for applications requiring a longer working time; however, this can extend the time (and therefore the costs) of any project.
2. Increased Humidity
Colder temperatures often increase the presence of moisture around curing epoxies. If the moisture gets into uncured epoxy and condenses into a liquid, it can blush (or cloud) the surface, creating a flat finish instead of a glassy one, and even cause defects in the surface texture.
Cold weather increases the viscosity of epoxy. This added thickness makes it more difficult to stir and can cause self-leveling epoxies to not level properly and leave imperfections.
Will Epoxy Crack when applied in Freezing Temperatures?
Temperatures lower than 50°F are considered ‘low temperatures’ for epoxies. Once the temperature dips below 50°F, there will be extended curing times. Once the temperature goes below the freezing point, or 32°F, standard epoxy won’t fully cure at all, specialty epoxies are use at these temperatures. While epoxy will not crack in freezing temperatures, it will drastically reduce its ability to cure properly.
What Can Reduce the Temperature Resistance of Epoxy?
Some additives can reduce epoxy’s resistance to temperature damage, such as solvents or improperly measured and mixed resin components. These risks can be reduced by properly following the mixing instructions.
Choose Durable Epoxies From Copps Industries, Inc.
At Copps Industries, we have specialized in producing high-quality epoxies for over 40 years. We’re committed to creating high-quality, specialty, and environmentally friendly product options for all of our clients across multiple different industries. Today, our product catalog includes more than 500 epoxy products for use in civil engineering, mining, electronics, and more, as well as 2,500 formulations in our private labeling offerings. Our company is ISO 9001:2000 certified, and we’re committed to creating products that meet our high quality standards.