Does Two-Part Epoxy Have To Be Difficult?

Strong epoxy bonds are created by the reaction of an epoxide resin and a polyamine hardener.  Since this reaction is irreversible, the end product is known as a thermoset polymer (as opposed to a reversible thermoplastic).  The rate of reaction is highly dependent on temperature and, even more importantly, on the choices of resin, hardener, and other ingredients that have been designed in to a particular formulation.  Two-part epoxies are supplied with the resin and hardener packaged separately, to prevent the reaction from occurring.  While this type of packaging offers the benefit of long term storage at room temperature, two-part epoxies are sometimes perceived as difficult to process.  This doesn't have to be the case.

Work life of an epoxy, or the time available for dispensing and then assembling components, can vary widely from a few minutes to several hours after mixing, depending on the formulation.  The key to success is quick, thorough mixing of resin and hardener with the correct amount of each.  Common ratios are 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, 10:1, and others.  How is a user supposed to accurately measure and mix quickly and cleanly?  For measurement, the answer is using a supplier that provides pre-measured amounts in packaging appropriate for the application.  For mixing, most applications are best served with disposable static mixers.  A static mixer is a tube containing internal barriers that separate and recombine a liquid multiple times as it flows through.  It is ideal for thoroughly mixing epoxy with absolutely no mess, providing a single stream from the outlet.
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