Although we do hear that epoxy resins cure in light, it is usually common for all substances to be exposed,media reported. However, a small amount of new additives is now required to cure the resin. It can also be used underwater. Proprietary compounds developed by the Technical University of Vienna can be added to existing epoxy resins in liquid or paste form.
Initially, it is transparent. However, when any part of the resin is exposed to a flash, a chemical reaction occurs to generate heat. Heat is scattered throughout the resin, resulting in a cascading effect that causes all materials to cure and harden in a matter of seconds – even debris that may be hidden from the light and visible from the inside crack or anywhere else. The resin then becomes darker color, allowing the user to know that the process is complete.
Currently, depending on its formulation, the additive can be triggered by ultraviolet light or high-intensity visible light. Importantly, when the resin is mixed with carbon fiber, it is still valid, which means that it can be used to produce or repair composites. It can also even be coated with a resin containing additives and then cured underwater. Initially, scientists thought the heat generated inside the resin would be released into the water, preventing the material from curing. However, it turns out that the chemical reaction causes the water around the resin to boil immediately, creating a layer of water vapor protection on the surface of the material.
The university is now looking for industry partners that could commercialize the technology. The study suggests that the technology could eventually be used in applications such as aerospace, shipbuilding, structural restoration or pipeline maintenance.
A paper on the study, led by Professor Robert Liska, was recently published in the journal Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing.