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marine epoxy crystallization

It is an accepted fact that all relatively pure epoxy resins (generally the part A of a two part epoxy system and NOT the curing agent or hardening agent generally known as the part B) will, under the right conditions (time and temperature) crystallize from their liquid state. I've seen it happen in under 30 days in cool weather. Some seem more likely to do this after the container is opened, but with other resins this doesn't seem to make a difference.

This is similar to what bee honey will often do when stored for a long period of time. Just like with bee honey the 'fix' is to warm the product until the crystals re-dissolve and the resin again returns completely to its liquid state ready to use.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

With some epoxies the crystals form 'needles' in the epoxy. I have seem then form a clear 'almost' crust in other epoxies. In our 810 bartop epoxy the part A becomes milky (you can no longer see through the resin to the bottom of the container. Near the bottom of the container the 'milky' resin becomes thicker and more milky. I have never seen crystals form in our Low V epoxy.

You are far less likely to find resin crystallization in the warm summer time.


 


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EPOXY RESIN PROPERTIES

Epoxy Resin Crystallization Info Page
Milky Epoxy -- An introduction resin crystallization Marine Epoxy



Note that it is generally the 'more pure' epoxy resins that tend to crystallize. It is more common with the clear epoxies, but can happen in pigmented epoxies too.

While all of these epoxy resins will crystallize under the right conditions, some do it more readily than others, thus some have a reputation for crystallizing while others do not. In any event, the solution is to 'melt' the crystals away by warming the resin. I have one resin that 'remelts' at about 85 degrees F, the others I warm to perhaps 120 degrees in a microwave oven.

A good method and one that we use for larger units is to put the resin in a cabinet, self, storage box that is 'heated' with one or two light bulbs. Leave the lid open a crack and keep a thermometer handy - temps can easily rise to well over 100 degrees. I usually find a day or two in all that is needed. If the container is sealed and you cannot mix the contents, you may need to turn the container over and repeat the heating, the 'crystals' seem to collect at the bottom of the resin containers with most (not all) of the resins.

Floating the resin containers in a Hot Tub or Spa would probably also be a good fix (or outside in a hot summer day under a black plastic bag! I would think an electric immersion heater would also be a good solution (these resins contain of solvents to catch fire).



Epoxies by Progressive Epoxy Polymers that crystallize


BASIC NO BLUSH marine epoxy - I have seen and had reported to me some crystallization of this epoxy only 2 or 3 times in the several years this product has been manufactured. It always looks like little ice crystals suspended in to resin which quickly disappear when warmed.

Subject: Sugary resin
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2005
From: Jim
To: Paul Oman


Hi Paul,

I have a question about shelf life of the No Blush 2 resin I bought last April 21st (invoice 5922). I used about 1/3 of the 1.5 gal then, and stored in rest in a cool dry room. I used a little more in September, and it was fine, but When I opened it in December, it was shot. The hardener is fine, but the resin looks just like sugared honey. Would a slight amount of contaminination cause that? I was careful, and I know I didn't switch any tools from one can to the other. Is there anyway to reclaim the granulating mess? More reasonable question: Is it possible to buy more resin without the hardener? Thanks for any advice,

Jim
-----------------
Hi Jim,

Good news. It is not a problem. Most clear epoxy resins will crystallize over time just like honey. Fix is the same. Heat it up in oven or microwave or warm spot. Say 100 - 125 degrees for a few hours (or minutes in the microwave) will restore it back to new.

It will probably tend to re-crystallize more easily now as even with melting there always seems to be a 'micro-crystal' seed that will start re-crystallizing going again in a few weeks. Same fix - just melt them away!

Yes, we do sell just part A or B to our existing customers to fix, mistakes, spills, etc.

regards

Paul Oman


PREMIUM NO BLUSH - I have seen crystals formed only once or twice and never had it reported by a customer. Crystallization with this product appears as a 'layer of clear ice' on the top of the resin (part A). Rather than heating the resin I simply 'scooped' out the 'ice'.


WATER GUARD 300 / NSP 120 - This product tends to get "gritty" in the pigmented part A when it begins to crystallize. Again, heating it up will turn it back to smooth and creamy.



BIO CLEAR 810 - Our table and bar top epoxy. This is really an outstanding, low yellowing epoxy but not without its own set of 'issues' including crystallizing in less then a month from manufacture. This product tends to get milky when it crystallizes. You should be able to see the bottom of the container when you open the part A. If not, it needs to be warmed/heated until clear again. Note: if just a little cloudy the 'reaction' between the 2 parts when mixed will also dissolve the crystals and make it clear again, but better to warm it up rather than risk it 'fixing itself!'



Epoxies by Progressive Epoxy Polymers that have not shown to crystallize


LOW V - I have never seen even traces of crystallization with our Low V epoxy.





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