An Overview of Epoxies
Epoxies were first discovered and patented in 1934 Paul Schlack of Germany and Schlack would later go on to play a role in the discovery of nylon as well. Epoxies grew from there, when in 1943,Pierre Castan of Switzerland discovered BPA epoxies. Since then, dozens of other types of epoxies have been discovered with various means of curing and intended to be used in virtually anything from protecting circuits, bonding wind turbines, various aerospace industry applications and even in the controversial plastination process that’s used in the Body Worlds exhibits. Epoxies come in nearly limitless types and can be used for nearly limitless applications. While we don’t carry all of them, we do have many varieties that will come in handy for many jobs.
The most common or widely recognized application for epoxy, and probably one of our bestselling types of epoxy, is epoxy adhesive or bonding agents. 3M makes a multitude of different epoxy adhesives that work for many different applications. The 3M Scotch-Weld epoxies come in cartridges and this style is probably the most recognizable, even with its many varieties. Scotch-Weld also comes in a 2-part tube variety or in 2-part cans that need to be mixed prior to application. In addition to 3M we also carry epoxy adhesives made by MG Chemicals which includes standard epoxy types as well as silver epoxy which is conductive for use with electronics. Each type has its own requirements for storage and use, different cure times and key differences in what they bond, so be sure to have that in mind as you search for the right epoxy adhesive.
In addition to being used as an adhesive, epoxy can also be used as a protective coating, although if it is, it often needs another layer of protection after curing to protect against UV radiation which causes epoxies to degrade over time. Like adhesives, epoxy coatings come in several varieties like silver coated copper epoxy conductive coating for electronics applications or epoxy coatings under 3M’s Scotchkote brand. There’s also epoxy potting compound which helps protect electronics and integrated circuits against a number of hazards. Some of the uses for epoxy coatings include industrial pipes, marine vessels, automotive, crack repair, floor coating and more.
Although there are still many other types of epoxies that are made, there is one more type to mention based on types that we carry and that is epoxy tape. Epoxy tape is exactly what it sounds like, liquid epoxy converted into the form of a tape that you can stick to whatever you’re working on and then once in place take it through the proper curing process, usually heat treating. Epoxy tape is used in many different applications including the automotive and aerospace industries. With the flexibility that application via tape provides it removes all of the mess of mixing as well as the downsides that come with using an applicator. Epoxy tape is also available in different thicknesses, thicker adhesive layers in the tape create a more elastic bond while thinned adhesive layers create a firm, non-pliable bond. The main advantage to using the tape is the ability to cut it into the precise shape and apply it to the precise location where the epoxy is needed.
With this variety of epoxies to choose from you can easily find one – or several – that will work for whatever job you need it for. Whether you need epoxy for circuit boards, bonding, sealing, coating or other work, we carry something that will get the job done. All of the epoxy we carry is made by manufacturers with a great reputation, 3M and MG Chemicals for the most part, so you can trust it to do the job you need!