New epoxy hardens when one section is exposed to lightSiobhan Treacy | March 02, 2020
Researchers from TU Wein created a special formula for epoxy resins transforms within seconds just by applying light. The new epoxy can be used for fiber-reinforced composites in aerospace, shipbuilding, automotive, building restoration and more.
At first, the epoxy is clear and in liquid, or paste form. When any part of the epoxy is irradiated with light, the entire epoxy solidifies and turns a dark color. When light strikes any part of the resin, a chemical reaction is triggered and heat is released. The heat spreads across the material and initiates a chemical cascade until the entire resin is cured.
The biggest advantage of this material is that the entire resin doesn’t have to be cured to trigger hardening. Researchers say that it also has unlimited storage stability, which makes processing significantly easier.
The epoxy can be used in jobs that have been difficult to carry out, including underwater. When the epoxy is deposited and light is applied, a chemical reaction starts which brings the surrounding water to a boil. The boiling water created a thin protective layer of water vapor between the hardening resin and surrounding water. This allows the epoxy to harden and darken underwater.
A paper on the new resin was published in Composites.