Reducing Epoxy Curing Time
Epoxy curing is the process by which epoxy resin mixes with a hardening agent to produce the durable polymer that bonds in household and automotive projects. The epoxy curing process can take a lot of time, and when you're doing a lengthy project, you might not have several hours or even days to wait for your epoxy to fully set. There are a few things you can do to speed up the process of epoxy curing, but they must be performed with care so you don't ruin the epoxy.
Step 1- Adding More Epoxy Curing Agent
The more epoxy curing agent you add to the resin, the faster the chemical reaction will occur and the faster your epoxy will set. It's important not to add too much curing agent, because your epoxy will become too hard to work with. It will either become chunky or hard if you add too much curing agent. If you follow the instructions that came with the epoxy, you'll be able to get the proper ratio for epoxy curing agent and resin. Generally the amount of resin you use, such as half the can, should be the amount of hardening agent you use (half the bottle). To prevent ruining a whole batch of epoxy, you should being by experimenting with a small amount of resin and curing agent. Once you find the ratio that works, you can mix the real batch.
Step 2- Adding an Accelerator
There are accelerators on the market for different kinds of epoxies. You need to match the kind of accelerator you use with the material that is causing the polymer to form in the epoxy. If you use the wrong kind of accelerator, you might ruin the whole batch of epoxy. Accelerators can also help the epoxy to be more durable and have a better finish when it dries. The accelerator will tell you their approximate curing time.
Step 3- Using an Epoxy Curing Oven
Whether you assemble it yourself or purchase one, an epoxy curing oven can be helpful in speeding up the process. A curing oven is used for post cures. This means that you need to let the initial cure be completed before you heat up the epoxy in the oven. Otherwise, you can damage the epoxy. The initial cure takes less time than a post cure.
You should be able to find out what temperature the epoxy should be cured in the oven at from the directions that it came with. It's important not to get the epoxy too hot, because it can lessen the durability and compromise the integrity of the project you're working on. You need to regulate the temperature inside the oven using a thermometer. Adjust the heat according to the directions and you can reduce your epoxy curing time.