Epoxy is the cured end product of epoxy resins, as well as a colloquial name for the epoxide functional group. Epoxy is also a common name for a type of strong adhesive used for sticking things together and covering surfaces, typically two resins that need to be mixed together before use. It can also be used as a solver due to its high melting and boiling points.
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The shelf life of unmixed two-part epoxies is long. There are many anecdotal reports of epoxies mislaid for decades and then used successfully. However, one more commonly sees one to two years published as product specifications.
The applications for epoxy-based materials are extensive and include coatings, adhesives and resin matrices for composite materials such as those using carbon fiber and fiberglass reinforcements (although polyester, vinyl ester, and other thermosetting resins are also used for glass-reinforced plastic). The chemistry of epoxies and the range of commercially available variations allows cure polymers to be produced with a very broad range of properties. In general, epoxies are known for their excellent adhesion, chemical and heat resistance, good-to-excellent mechanical properties and very good electrical insulating properties. Many properties of epoxies can be modified (for example silver-filled epoxies with good electrical conductivity are available, although epoxies are typically electrically insulating). Variations offering high thermal insulation, or thermal conductivity combined with high electrical resistance for electronics applications, are available.