Choosing the Right Epoxy Work Life

How to Choose the Right Epoxy

When considering which type of epoxy to choose, there are many factors to consider. You may find yourself first asking, "does this work for my substrates?" or "will this withstand the environmental conditions I need it to?" These are important questions to ask but don't neglect to consider the work-life you need for your project. 

Work-life relates to cure time. It's the time you have before the epoxy begins to harden and dry. With certain epoxies, applying a UV light or heat can accelerate the curing process but choosing an epoxy with an appropriate work-life is the best way to prevent aggravation and possible damage to your substrates. The term work-life is sometimes confused with pot life, but pot life is the amount of time an activated epoxy will last in your working tub before it begins to harden. 

There are three main groups of work-life for epoxies which are short, medium, and long. The first step in selecting the right epoxy is understanding the differences between these groups. The Goldilocks system is a common rule-of-thumb for epoxy work-life selection because it's important your work-life allows enough time to complete the job, but not too much where it would result in your finished project being delayed. The perfect epoxy will have a work-life that is not too long, not too short, but just right. 

Short Work-Life Epoxies

If an epoxy adhesive has a short work-life, you can expect that means the epoxy will take anywhere from three to ten minutes to set. However, this doesn't mean that the epoxy will be fully cured after this time. Many short work-life epoxies take up to 24 hours to be fully cured, but the work-time is how long you have to adjust parts or make changes to the epoxied area.

The Infinity 5 Minute Epoxy is a great adhesive for quick repairs. It bonds well to a variety of substrates including, ceramics and plastics. Common uses for this epoxy are to reinforce cracks, mend broken household parts, or repair leather and fabric fasteners. A short work-life is beneficial in situations where you need to hold your item in place with precision, for example, with a vertical application. In this situation, a short work life is helpful to reduce fatigue while holding the item. 

Medium Work-Life Epoxies

With a work-life from 20 to 40 minutes, a medium work-life epoxy is ideal for many commercial projects because there is time to adjust parts after application. This ability is especially important if the application's purpose is to reinforce joints and weight-bearing anchors. a medium work-life is also useful to ensure your work is precise for water or airtight applications. 

If you're looking for a two-part, general-purpose epoxy that can be used to bond a variety of substrates like, metals, ceramics, or plastic, the Infinity 20 Minute Epoxy will get the job done. This epoxy can withstand more harsh external and environmental conditions, even water, salt, and acid exposure. The 20-minute epoxy has an excellent shear strength of 4,000-5,000 psi.

Long Work-Life Epoxies

For applications that are more heavy-duty and require great precision, long work-life epoxies are your best bet. With longer open times, you have the most flexibility to adjust parts, and for the most precise alignment. This is especially useful in engineering systems and when many parts are working alongside each other. 

The Infinity Long Work Life Epoxy has up to 100 minutes of work-life and can bond metal, glass, and plastic with ease. You can even accelerate the cure time by applying heat or extend work-time with a cooler temperature. 

Ready to Learn More? 

Viscosity and weight-bearing properties may seem like the most important factors during your selection process for an epoxy but be sure you don't neglect to consider how much work-life you need for your epoxy to have the best application. If you have questions about selecting an epoxy with the right work-life for your project or about epoxies more generally, contact us. Our knowledgeable staff is happy to assist. 

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