EPOXY FLOOR HISTORY

A BRIEF HISTORY OF EPOXY

 

History of Epoxy

The versatility of epoxy compounds is astounding. Its numerous uses range from coatings, adhesives, and electrical insulation to composite materials used in carbon fiber and fiberglass reinforcements. Epoxies can be produced with a broad range of properties and provide excellent adhesion, resistance to chemicals and heat, and electrical insulation.

Epoxy has been around for over 100 years. In the early 1900’s Russian chemists were the first to begin synthesizing epoxy compounds. The first commercial attempts to synthesize epoxy in the United States were made starting in 1927.

The first commercial attempts to prepare resins from epichlorohydrin were made in 1927, in the U.S. Credit for the first synthesis of bisphenol-A-based epoxy resins is shared by Dr. Pierre Castan of  Switzerland and Dr. S.O. Greenlee of the United States, in 1936.

Dr. Castan's work was licensed by Ciba, Ltd. of Switzerland, which went on to become one of the three major epoxy resin producers worldwide. Ciba's epoxy business was spun off and sold in the late 1990s, and it is now the Advanced Materials business unit of Huntsman Corporation of the United States.

Initially epoxy was used in the marine and industrial industry. Often, epoxy coatings were (and still are) used as a primer to enhance the adhesion of paints that are applied as a final coating to hulls and decks. Epoxies are also used to protect and make repairs to the internal surface of hulls.

Currently, the epoxy industry is made up of roughly 50–100 manufacturers of basic or commodity epoxy resins and hardeners. The commodity epoxy manufacturers typically do not sell epoxy resins in a form usable by smaller end users. For this reason, other companies purchase epoxy raw materials from the major producers and then produce (blend, modify, or otherwise customize) epoxy systems from the raw materials. These companies are known as "formulators." The majority of the epoxy systems sold are produced by these formulators, which make up over 60 percent of the dollar value of the epoxy market.

During the 1950’s the use of epoxy expanded to include woodwork, building construction, and aerospace. Often in building construction and woodwork epoxy is used as a structural adhesive. Epoxies can be made flexible or rigid, transparent or opaque, or fast or slow setting. Compared to other adhesives, epoxies are more heat and chemical resistant. In aerospace applications epoxy is used as a structural matrix material that is then reinforced by fiber or as structural glue.

EPOXY FLOOR ADHESION

 Beverly Hills, CA  

Beverly Hills, CA  

Common Causes for Adhesive Problems

High tech adhesives (EPOXY) are very reliable and issues do not occur often. When used correctly, these adhesives can resolve many design issues while also saving money, time and effort.  However, there are many potential reasons for a possible failure when using these materials.  Failure can be defined as no adhesion upon cure, reduced adhesive strength, or loss of adhesion over time. When any problem occurs, the adhesive is very often one of the first components to be examined. Finding the cause of a failure can sometimes become difficult, especially when a failure is intermittent or it started after a long period of success.  There are a number of standard issues that should be considered to determine the cause of a failure.

  • Contamination should be one of the first considerations. Any grease, oil or other impurity on the surface can potentially cause loss of adhesion. Dirty substrates are an obvious potential problem but contamination can be inadvertent.   Components may have been improperly cleaned. Component manufacturers sometimes change a production process that does not affect the component performance or tolerances but can unintentionally effect the bonding of that component. Controlling the cleaning process at the usage sight is the best method to ensure occurrence of this potential problem does not arise.
  • SURFACE PREPARATION is essential for bond consistency. There are many methods to prepare surfaces, including washing, abrasion and plasma/corona treatment.  The best surface preparation will depend upon the specific substrate and adhesive chemistry used.  Consult with your substrate provider or adhesive manufacturer for the appropriate preparation. Lack of consistent surface preparation can be the biggest contributor to adhesion issues.

 

  • Mix Ratio for many two part materials can be a major issue. Some systems are very sensitive to minor changes in the mix ratio.  Many materials are chemically balanced and an off ratio mix may cause the material to cure erratically and/or not perform to its optimal capability. Even some materials that are not as sensitive to the mix ratio may exhibit slightly different characteristics when the ratio is varied.  Materials that do cure with an off ratio mix may have slightly different finished hardness and tensile strength thus effecting the final performance.

 

  • Mixing of two part adhesives is a basic process function but is essential for of these adhesives to work properly. Insufficient mix may result in a partial chemical reaction which leads to partial curing. An insufficient cured material will most likely result in poor bond strength and lower physical properties.

 

Also, mixing of the original container can be very important.  Fillers or other constituents could settle. Ensuring a homogenous mix of each component prior to mixing (for two parts) is vital to achieve maximum properties.

 

  • Application technique can be critical. If material is manually applied, ensure that the amount is consistent for each unit. Most adhesives work best with an appropriate bond line.  Too much or too little material could produce variable cured strengths.  If applicable, make sure that the adhesive is applied in the same location on every component.

 

  • Incompatibility with substrates can also be a contributor to failure with some adhesives. Certain plastics may contain plasticizers which could seep to the surface over time, causing a bond to fail.  This seepage could be inconsistent from lot to lot so that some parts never fail while others lose adhesion.

 

Some substrates can actually interfere with the cure mechanism of an adhesive.  This is usually an issue that is addressed when selecting the adhesive but sometimes appears later.

 

  • Cure time and temperature can be major factors contributing to incomplete cure and performance of many systems. Some materials must be exposed to certain temperatures in order to cure.  Many ovens can vary considerably and thus an adhesive does not seem to cure in its allotted time.  Too high a temperature may cause a material to polymerize incorrectly and cause degraded properties.

 

Some materials may cure at lower temperatures but not produce the same physical characteristics as when cured with elevated temperatures.  Alternatively, certain chemistries designed for low temperature cure should not be heated when cured.

 

Products cured with UV energy have the same issues.  They must be cured with the correct wavelength and energy level.  Certain chemistries will not cure with low light exposure and others can burn if subjected to high dosage.  Some of the UV chemistries must be heat post cured to achieve their maximum performance.

 

  • Environmental conditions should also be noted as many materials can be effected by their surroundings. For example, high moisture levels can prevent cure in some materials while it speeds up the reaction in others.  Carbon dioxide, PH, Oxygen and environmental temperature could all adversely affect the finished adhesive.

As stated earlier, intermittent problems are the hardest to resolve. These are almost always due to a factor other than the adhesive.  Of course a batch of adhesive may have been produced incorrectly but this is actually very rare as reputable manufacturers use reliable raw materials and process controls to ensure a consistent finished product.  Greater than 98% of problems with adhesives are not due to the adhesive itself but due to one of the causes previously discussed.

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EPOXY FLOOR PREP

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How to Prepare Concrete Floors for Epoxy


When people think of epoxy coatings, residential garages and showrooms come to mind. Epoxy Coatings,  however, are ideal for numerous applications including healthcare institutions, industrial settings, offices, kitchens and much more. 

Decorative Epoxy Coatings come in an amazing variety of colors and styles, including solid color, metallic, quartz, and flake. Because of the endless design capabilities, no two floors are really ever the same. 

Epoxies are durable, tough, and resistant to oil, grease, and most chemicals. They are also resistant to impact and extreme wear, making them ideal for locations with a lot of foot or vehicle traffic. Some epoxy coatings even provide added floor protection in environments subject to varying temperature extremes, such as commercial kitchens, refrigeration units, or deep-freeze coolers.

Epoxy coatings can also be designed with various surface textures and system build thicknesses. This provides multiple levels of slip resistance, making the environment safer and reducing the potential of slip-and-fall accidents. This is an attractive benefit for businesses concerned with employee and customer safety.  

Concrete must be properly prepared before a coating can be applied. Epoxy Coatings are also referred to as “Epoxy Paint.” And like any other paint job, proper preparation of the surface is essential. 

Preparing a concrete floor (removing oil spots, cleaning/degreasing the floor, scrubbing, vacuuming, etc.) can be quite labor intensive. Applying the epoxy coating properly so as to avoid blistering, puckering, flaking, or other application errors is best done by a fully trained, professional concrete flooring contractor. 

Before an epoxy coating is applied to the floor, WEST COAT FLOORING  highly recommends considering the following:


  • New slabs of concrete should be allowed to fully cure for 30-60 days before a coating is applied
  • If a sealer was previously used on the concrete (if water beads up on the surface), DO NOT USE EPOXY. The sealer should be removed first by shot blasting. 

Shot Blasting :  It is referred as to the process of either cleaning or preparing floor by propelling concrete. This is done to take out floor contaminants. Shot Blasting is also functional as it cleanses the floor and exposes the holes so to create superior adhesion, which creates a better bond for epoxy epoxy flooring. In addition, shot blasting is obliging for urethane flooring and at times it is also carried out in waterproofing process. Not just efficiency, Shot Blasting is also notable for its economy. It is one of the fastest processes of preparing floor. If done with utmost care and by efficient set of equipment, Shot Blasting also turns to be an environment friendly floor preparation because dust and debris are handled attentively by such specialized machines. None the less, this method is not recommended to prepare or repair micro-topping concrete or slim-mil coating floors because of its striped blast prototype impact.

  • Previous coatings or paints should be removed by a diamond grinding system before a new epoxy coating is applied.  

Diamond GrindingWhen even expert operators find it difficult to prepare flooring without leaving a striped-pattern effect during Shot Blasting, the odds of undesired and enduring damages to floor are likely to be there. Otherwise in any case substandard or say uneven finished flooring will be the outcome in thin-mil epoxies. That is where the second method called Diamond Grinding is quite appealing. In this process, removal of most concrete blots is done with great success and surface is smooth to avoid strip-pattern impact typical of Shot Blasting. It facilitates utmost control over the resultant floor profile. May it be repair of existing surface and preparing it for epoxy, acrylic, urethane or concrete hardener, Diamond Grinding is s preferred choice over Shot Blasting. This method guarantees efficient removal of adhesives and coatings. It is also most sought process for preparing thin-mil epoxy as well as cement micro-topping and architectural staining. Since Diamond Grinding is clever choice in high-polishing and removal of heavy coatings as well, it is illustrious for its multi-purpose utility. Even Diamond Grinding is an economic affair where high end finishing is required. Instead of spending huge on polished flooring blocks, comparable smoothness and leveling can be attained on mere concrete flooring using Diamond Grinding.

  • Any cracks or concrete spall should be filled and stabilized before a new epoxy coating is applied.
  • Determine if moisture or dampness is coming up through the concrete from the ground. If moisture is evident, your floor isn’t suitable for epoxy. If relative humidity is greater than 75, a moisture migration system should be used.

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