Warm Weather, Short Resin Work Time!

“What have you guys done to your resin? I added the hardener to the base and it got hot before I finished mixing it and as I poured it into the tube to wet out, it got hard. WHAT DID YOU DO?”

We’ve discussed this topic in previous blogs, but with summer heat upon us, this is a good topic for review. If you are one of the lucky ones, this has never happen to you. If it has happened, this is your learning from your mistakes moments. We get calls every summer just like the one above. Conversely we get calls from the same people in the winter asking us why the resin is tsking so long to cure in ambient conditions. Another learning moment.

So here’s the deal. Resin, like any liquid whether its water, paint, or something else, drys faster in heat than it does in cold. Heat raises the pace of the drying or curing process. If you are wondering about this relationship of heat to drying out, wash 2 pieces of clothing. Set one piece of clothings in your refrigerator and the other hung out in the sun on a warm day. I think it’s a safe bet to guess that the piece of clothing hanging in the sun outdoors at 80F will be fry before the piece of clothing sitting in the refrigerator.

Then let’s get to resin. If you look at the little temperature chart found on the resin containers we sell, you’d note that the cure rate at 77F is a common resin standard temperature rating used by the industry. I picked up a bucket of Quik Pox 30 and checked the temperature scale. At 77 F I can expect the resin to be workable up to 30 minutes. Just raising the temperature cuts the working time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. At 63F that resin would give you 50 minutes and at 50F you’d get 120 minutes. So as you can see, as the temperature increases the work time decrease much faster than at lower temperatures. If your resin was stored over night with no temperature control and the next day the ambient temperature is 100F, your resin may be well into the upper 80’s or lower 90’s. When the resin temperature is nearing 90F, it’s doubtful that you’d get the resin hardener and base mixed before it began hardening.

If you have someone that has a resin that isn’t affected by temperature, let me know. Physics tells me you won’t find one. All liquids, whether resin, water or paint will dry faster if it is warmer and slower if cold.

Another aspect of the curing rates is the quality of your mixing. If you use a low speed drill, with a mixing bit held in one spot in the bucket for the prescribed mixing time, the odds of you getting a good mix of resin base and hardener is pretty slim. If you’ve cooled the resin and it’s thick, mixing may take longer than prescribed to insure all of the hardener is fully mixed with the base to provide an even curing of the wetted out tube.

Knowing all of this, what can you do to make sure your resin doesn’t “go off” before you get it in the ground? Every convenience store sells ice. Many home improvement stores sell tubs that will hold 2 or 3 pails of resin. If ice and water is added to these tubs and resin is placed in the tubs in the buckets we ship you, you can effectively cool warm ambient resin. If you place the resin you need tomorrow in these tubs with ice and water overnight, you will be good to go in the morning. Putting the buckets in the ice water for 20 minutes won’t lower the temperature enough before mixing. If you don’t your call will be to us asking what we did to the resin to make it cure too quickly. It’s summer now and our enemy is heat, but wait till winter and the enemy becomes cold. Then the calls asking why we slowed down the curing process with no concern about the mixing time.