Working With Eli-Chem Epxoy
Based in the U.K., Eli-Chem produces superior-quality durable epoxy resin systems developed for the art, design and restoration markets.
Although the two epoxies we offer are for different purposes and have different properties, they share some common characteristics for working with and handling them.
How do epoxies work?
Epoxies consist of two chemicals, a resin and a hardener. These are inert on their own, but when combined, a chemical reaction takes place, and it’s the formulation of these two parts that gives a particular epoxy its properties.
When the resin and hardener are combined, the molecules in the mixture begin to form long chains, and these chains then cross-link to each other to form a latticework like a fishing net.
Once cured, the cross-linked chains are resistant to water and chemicals, and are difficult to deform or scratch.
Because epoxies cure through a chemical reaction, the ambient temperature and humidity as well as the ratio of resin to hardener play critical roles.
What tools and equipment do I need?
1) Personal protective equipment:
- Organic cartridge respirator
- Nitrile gloves or barrier cream
- Safety glasses or splash goggles
- Dust mask when sanding cured resin
- Appropriately sized graduated measuring cup; for small batches, this can also be used for mixing
- For a large pour, a clean container of sufficient size
- A small quantity can be mixed with a stir stick; large volumes are best mixed using a mixer paddle in a power drill
What safety precautions should I take?
- Avoid skin contact; wear nitrile gloves or use a barrier cream. If pouring a large quantity, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
- Use safety glasses to guard against splashes.
- Wear an organic cartridge respirator when working with liquid epoxy and breathing protection when sanding cured resin.
- Work in a well-ventilated area.
What are the watch-outs when working with epoxy?
- The mix ratio is critical to the epoxy curing properly and having the desired properties. Measure the components by volume as accurately as you can.
- Mix thoroughly. Scrape the sides of the container to ensure both components are fully incorporated.
- Mix thoroughly but not vigorously as though beating a batter. Introducing air into the mixture creates bubbles, which can be visible in a translucent/transparent mixture or create pinholes in a finished surface.
- The ambient temperature and humidity can significantly affect the curing process. Avoid extremes of both. DeepCast is especially sensitive and best used within a range of 18° to 25°C (64° to 75°F) and below 70% RH.
Once your epoxy project has cured, it’s time to move on to levelling and sanding. We’ll follow this up with some useful information about how to store your resins to maximize their shelf life.
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