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Panel: Colleen Stevens
Media: Erich Shea


Epoxy technology is essential to a more sustainable world. It helps improve public health, enhance food safety, and make manufacturing processes more efficient. As a raw material in countless products and goods, it features basic performance properties, such as toughness, strong adhesion, and chemical resistance. As a result, products and applications that utilize epoxy technology are long-lasting, highly functional, and energy efficient.

The versatility and adaptability of epoxies allow them to be used in a wide range of applications in multiple complex industries such as energy, transportation, health care, manufacturing, and many others. Epoxies can be blended in different grades, from liquid to virtually solid, and there are currently more than 50 unique kinds of epoxies on the market, with hundreds of different varieties and applications.

The Economic Benefits of Epoxy Resins in North America

CETS commissioned a comprehensive study on the economic benefits of epoxy resins in North America. To learn more, click here.

About Epoxies

Epoxies are created by reacting an epoxy resin and a hardener, or by reacting resins with themselves. The characteristics of the end product will depend largely on the hardener and other additives used, the ratio in which they are combined, and the curing or drying process. The selected mix will determine the degree of adhesion to other materials, its resistance to temperature and/or chemicals, and its overall strength and durability.

Key Terms Pertinent to Any Discussion of Epoxies

Epoxy Resins:

Epoxy resins are a class of polymers and prepolymers containing more than one epoxide group. The vast majority of epoxy resins are petroleum derivatives produced through industrial processing. Today, hundreds of epoxy resins are used. As resins are a critical component of epoxy polymers, the term ‘epoxy resins’ is often used to refer to the end-cured product as well as to the uncured resin. The most common is produced from epichlorohydrin and Bisphenol A (BPA).

  • BPA is a starting substance for Bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (commonly abbreviated BADGE). However, BADGE is not just an aggregate of BPA and epichlorohydrin but rather a different molecule with its own unique properties. Only minute residual traces, also known as technical impurities, of BPA remain in epoxy resin and will either react during the curing process or will be embedded and immobilized into the cured resin.


A hardener is the substance used to ‘cure’ epoxy resins, transforming them into epoxy polymers. The most common hardeners for epoxy resins are amines, acids, acid anhydrides, phenols, alcohols, and thiols.


Curing is a process involving a chemical reaction, which cross-links polymer chains, usually aimed at creating hardened (thermoset) substances. Epoxies are created by curing epoxy resins with hardeners, or by reacting with themselves through a process known as catalytic homo-polymerisation.

The result of the curing process will create epoxy thermoset polymers, with unique adhesion, durability, resistance, and versatility that can be used in a variety of applications. Epoxy resins are a highly versatile family of synthetics used as binders for coatings, adhesives, sealants, and fiber-reinforced plastics composites. In composite materials, a fiber (such as glass) is reinforced by an epoxy matrix. The combination of the fiber and epoxy matrix produces a new material that is strong, efficient, and durable.

tall-glass-bldgsThe unique durability of epoxies benefits a wide cross-section of products and industries. Epoxy technology is used in products we rely on every day, and helps create end-use applications found in cars, boats, airplanes, and components in fiber optics and electrical circuit boards. Epoxy resin linings also help to create a safe and protective barrier in metal containers to prevent canned foods from spoiling or becoming contaminated with bacteria or rust.


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