Crystallization of Resin Research epoxy resins
During the past winters we have noticed some effects on the viscosity of our Epoxy Resin. We talked to our supplier Seabase who assured us it wasn't a resin problem. We followed their advice, which we report here, and solved every problem regarding the increase in viscosity. First of all we want to reassure you: if your Resin Research resin becomes a solid block, don't worry. Follow the instructions and, unlike the polyester resin, our Resin Research epoxy resin will return completely liquid as it should!
Under certain conditions, the epoxy appears "frozen": a solid or muddy appearance. The crystallization of liquid epoxy resin is well known and we know the causes.
Primarily it is due to the high biological content and the low content of chemical additives. Some components of the epoxy resin form crystalline structures, especially if the resin has undergone numerous temperature changes. This happens when storage is in colder conditions - even for a few hours - when the epoxy cools in cases of extended courier deliveries.
The first signs of crystallization occur when the epoxy is less clear; becomes cloudy or with a milky bluish appearance. This opacity is the first sign of small crystals floating in the resin. These then increase in size, as crystals do, turning the solution into a more solid state with solidifying resin blocks. These lumps can then sink to the bottom of the resin. The remaining liquid resin also begins to gel and appears denser.
Just like water freezes and changes its state from liquid to solid. And just like water, epoxy is not affected by its change in state. Once it becomes liquid again through heat, it becomes the same epoxy resin it was before crystallization. The only problem could be the melting point. As water freezes at 0 ° C and melts again above that temperature, the epoxy begins to crystallize at low temperatures, but its melting point is much higher - around 45 ° - 50 ° C. Then:
Always keep the epoxy resin warm by storing it at temperatures above 21 ° C. You can use an insulating material between the floor and the container. But if it cures don't worry !!!
If crystallization occurs, place the container in hot water in a water bath at a temperature equal to or above 50 ° C and leave it there (for several days if necessary), shaking or rotating the bottle several times until all signs of crystallization disappear and the resin is clear and liquid again. Prolonged proximity to a radiator, or other suitable heat source such as an electric blanket, is also fine. Do as you see fit, Resin Research epoxy does not catch fire.
It is important to keep in mind that the resin in the crystallized state does not allow to ensure the correct mixing ratios. Before partial use, it must be returned in a completely liquid state.
In cold weather, if you have no way of maintaining a controlled temperature, try to shake the resin frequently to prevent solids from settling.
Keep the container sealed at all times. Dust or contaminants are perfect initiators of the process as crystals form around impurities.
Remember that pure resins with fewer additives are more likely to crystallize.
Even low viscosity resins, such as Resin Research Quik Kick and Ultra 2000CE, are more likely to crystallize as their more liquid matrix makes them susceptible to change.
The process of reincorporating the crystals into the epoxy can take some time at elevated temperatures and will not affect the quality of the resin or its reactivity. However, be careful that the temperature of the resin returns to normal before using it with hardener. If used still hot, the hardening process could be reduced to a few minutes. It is advisable to return to an ambient temperature between 20 ° and 25 ° C before use.
Greg Rent, the creator of Resin Research, suggests a minute or more in the microwave. This will not affect the molecular structure in the least. Try several 30-second periods until it reaches the proper temperature and viscosity. If you decide to heat the resin before use with microwave, if too hot, wait for the resin to return to room temperature and recommended.
Remember, the resin heating process is completely safe and effective. Once the resin is back to its original state, it is perfectly safe and suitable for all applications with the recommended mixing ratios.
It just takes time. Please understand that the resin leaves our warehouse in a perfect liquid state, as we store at high temperatures and inspect every single shipment. Please contact us for further advice if needed.