Epoxies are incredibly versatile adhesives. They're able to be used in everything from bathroom floor tiling to aircraft manufacturing. They can be used to glue items together, or as a surface protectant. It's crucial that an epoxy dries correctly to ensure it's long-lasting and effective.
Some types of adhesives will cure just fine at room temperature. However, epoxies usually require heat or are made stronger when heat is applied, Assembly Magazine reported.
"Adding heat when curing adhesives improves cross-linking density," Utsav Shah, a technical support engineer at Master Bond Inc., explained, according to Assembly Magazine. "This, in turn, provides improved adhesive performance. Typically, one-component epoxy systems require a heat cure."
Epoxy systems can generally be divided into two categories: two-component and one-component systems. While one-component systems require the application of heat to achieve optimal results, manufacturers often claim two-component systems simply need to cure for a certain number of days at room temperature.
Using heat is more effective
According to Robert Michaels, the vice president technical sales at Master Bond, explained in a question-and-answer session that even two-component epoxies will benefit from the application of heat.
"Adding heat to the epoxy systems that normally cure at room temperature will accelerate the rate of cure and boost the performance profile," he explained. "Regarding the two part epoxies and one part systems that require heating, the trade-off for having to add heat is achieving superior performance attributes, such as temperature resistance [and] electrical properties."
The notion that some epoxies will come to a full cure at room temperature is false, added Michaels. While a two-component epoxy will cure enough to be effective in most cases, heat application is the only way to achieve a complete cure.
Additional benefits of using heat to cure epoxy include:
- Chemical resistance.
- Electrical insulation.
- Thermal resistance.
- Impact resistance.
- Bond strength.
Michaels also noted that the suggestion of adding heat to the curing process of a two-component epoxy is typically met with opposition. It's time-consuming and challenging to do, especially when there isn't an appropriate oven available to heat the epoxy in.
However, this challenge can easily be overcome with the right tool, such as Master Appliance's Proheat® 1600 STC™ Heat Gun. This portable solution will allow the user to direct heat exactly where it's needed, and the Surface Temperature Control feature will ensure the desired temperature is maintained.
Most epoxies cure at between 250 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The Proheat® 1600 STC™ Heat Gun has a range of between 90 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit.