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Epoxy

Epoxy is an extremely tough and durable synthetic resin comprised of two parts that when mixed together bonds a wide variety of materials in relatively harsh conditions. However, not all epoxies are designed for bonding (some are used for patching, for example), so be sure to select an adhesive epoxy if that is your objective.

There is a multitude of adhesive epoxy products available, many with different characteristics that are intended for very specific use and conditions. To help you choose the right epoxy, here are some of the characteristics to consider:

Characteristic Importance
Pot Life Epoxy is stored in two parts because once the two parts are mixed, the chemical reaction that hardens the epoxy begins and cannot be stopped or reversed. Consequently, if you want to work with a batch of epoxy for a while rather than constantly mixing up new, small batches, make sure it has a long pot life.
Setting and Curing Time Epoxies "set" (the time for them to begin gripping) and then "cure" (the time for them to reach maximum strength). Be sure to investing these characteristics if the bonding is to be done overhead or where the two pieces cannot be clamped together..
Temperature
and Moisture
Since epoxies "cure" rather than dry, the evaporation of moisture is not a part of the hardening process. However, exposure to water or high humidity and to cold and heat can still affect the setting rate, curing time, and bonding properties of most epoxies. Be sure to investigate these characteristics.
Elasticity Depending on the application, you may wish the epoxy to cure firm or flexible. The higher the elasticity, the more rubber like the bond and thus the more flexible the adhesion. This is especially important when the surfaces bonded shrink or flex from temperature, humidity, or stress.
Bonding Surfaces Not all epoxies will adhere to a particular surface as well as to others. Choose your epoxy based on the materials you want to join together.
Toxicity and Combustibility
A very important consideration when the epoxy will be used indoors or subjected to heat, sparks, or flame. Check for the toxicity of the fumes given off during setting as well as the epoxy's combustibility once cured.

To learn about marine epoxies, click here.
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