Epoxy is the family of basic components or cured end products of epoxy resins, also known as polyepoxides. These are a class of reactive prepolymers containing epoxide groups, which are also referred to as oxiranes. Epoxy is a very strong type of glue used in aircraft and automobile construction, among other things. It is a thermosetting polymer that possesses unique mechanical and strength properties, and is composed of a liquid epoxy resin and a chemical hardener that cures the resin in hardened plastic.
Epoxies are typically cured with stoichiometric or near stoichiometric amounts of hardener to achieve the best physical properties, and can be modified by adding mineral fillers. They are waterproof when hardened, but some are specifically designed so that they can be cured even when exposed to water. Epoxy was first reported and patented by Paul Schlack from Germany in 1934, and since then has been used for a variety of applications such as protective coatings, fillers, and scratch-resistant adhesive products. It is often used to encapsulate electronic systems due to its low dielectric constants and the absence of chlorine.
However, epoxies are generally not used on the outer shell of a ship because they deteriorate from exposure to UV light. Additionally, they need to be air dried, which means that they are often not the best option if, for example, a laminate is glued on a countertop. When selecting an epoxy resin for a material or application, it is important to consider the characteristics of the epoxy and how it will react with the material. With two-part epoxies, the two components needed to create the chemical reaction are packaged separately.
The epoxide functional group determines the main characteristics of a molecule during a chemical reaction, which means that molecules containing this group can chemically react to create a rigid but highly flexible material.