“The Whole is More than the Sum of its Parts.” - Aristotle
A great many composites, fillers and fibers may be added to epoxy resin to facilitate a number of enhanced properties. Carbon fiber reinforced polymers for instance, are widely used in sporting equipment and other high-tech manufacturing sectors such as the aircraft industry, to provide the benefits of superior strength combined with light weight.
“Since The Boeing Co.’s (Chicago, Ill., U.S.) 787 Dreamliner — 50% composite by weight and 100% composites on its aerodynamic surfaces — entered production and, in December 2009, successfully made its first flight, composites have earned their way into primary and secondary aerospace structures and found a greater place in the aircraft interior in the aerospace world,” – from Composites 101: Fibers and Resins, Jeff Sloan, Editor-in-Chief, CompositesWorld.
In addition to the creation of fiber-reinforced composites for structural applications; fillers and other additives are combined with epoxy resin to achieve a host of beneficial formulations.* Additives include:
- Powdered metals – to improve electrical & thermal conductivity
- Mica – for enhanced electrical resistance
- Carbon & graphite powders – increase lubricity
Other compounds that may be added to epoxy resin include liquid rubber which increases flexibility and durability, as well as enhancing crack and fatigue resistance. Flame retardants may be added as well - to decrease flammability.
And one of the epoxy resin additives that we all are probably most familiar with are dyes, tints and pigments. These colorants come in a vast rainbow of shades - adding depth, captivating color and a personal touch or creative statement to both artistic artworks - as well as DIY projects.
It seems that what may be added to epoxy resin is limited only by imagination and innovation. As advancements in composite technology continue to expand; so too does the variety of applications and solutions that these composites, and their additives, may be harnessed to address.
*research resource: Omnexus