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Painted sculpture
MFA# 1989.818


Bracelet made using epoxy resin and enamel powder
MFA# 2006.628

A series of thermosetting polymers based on the chemical reactivity of an epoxide group. Epoxies, first patented in Switzerland in 1939 by Pierre Castan, were further developed in the 1940s and 50s. They are composed of a liquid that, when mixed with a catalyst, crosslinks to form a hard, strongly bound solid. The most commonly used epoxies are made with epichlorohydrin reacted with bisphenol A. Epoxies are typically dense, insoluble structures that are dimensionally stable and wear resistant. Exhibiting minimal shrinkage with cure, they are used as adhesives, molded products, and baked enamel surface coatings.

Applying epoxy


AaiEPON epoxy.jpg

Synonyms and Related Terms

EP; epoxy resin; epoxide resin; polyepoxide; résine époxyde (Fr.); Epoxidharz (Deut.); resina epoxi (Esp.); poliepóxido (Esp., Port.); resina epossidica (It.); resina epoxídica (Port.); epoxi (Sven.)

Examples: Ablebond; Araldite [Huntsman ex Ciba-Geigy]; CM Bond; Epon® [Hexion]; Epotek; Hxtal; Phillyseal R (formerly Pliacre) [Philadelphia Resins]; UHU adhesives.


  • Adhesive

Personal Risks

  • Hardeners are moderately toxic by ingestion, inhalation and skin contact.

Collection Risks

May form ammonia and hydrochloric acid upon degradation.

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Burns with yellow flame; smells of phenol.
  • Density = 1.1-1.4

Working Properties

Two-part system with a liquid and a catalyst. Curing time ranges by product from 5 minutes - a week


Physical Properties for Selected Thermoset Resins

General Characteristics of Polymers

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • J. Down, M.MacDonald, J.Te'treault, S.Williams, Adhesive Testing at the Canadian Conservation Institute-An Evaluation of Selected Poly(Vinyl acetate) and Acrylic Adhesives", Studies in Conservation 41:19-44, 1996.
  • M.Savla, "Epoxy Resin Adhesives" in Handbook of Adhesives, I.Skeist (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1977, p.434-445.
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Dictionary of Fiber & Textile Technology (older version called Man-made Fiber and Textile Dictionary, 1965), Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Charlotte NC, 1990
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Website address 1 Comment: www.nswpmith.com.au/historyofplastics.html
  • Theodore J. Reinhart, 'Glossary of Terms', Engineered Plastics, ASM International, 1988

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