The key difference between phenolic resin and epoxy resin is that phenolic resins show a low level of heat resistance, whereas epoxy resins show a high level of heat resistance.
Choosing the correct countertop material for lab applications is very important because the surfaces in the laboratory are under regular use, and they occasionally experience high heat or chemical contact as well. Phenolic resins and epoxy resins are two types of materials we can use for this purpose.
What is Phenolic Resin?
Phenolic resins are a class of synthetic thermosetting resin. The material was invented by Dr Leo Baekeland in 1907. Phenolic resins were originally named Bakelite. There are two different types of phenolic resins as novalocs and resoles. Both these types are stable at considerably high temperatures. Often, this material has a dark colour and has an excellent performance profile.
Phenolic resins have different applications such as circuit board production, manufacture of moulded products such as billiard balls, laboratory countertops, coatings, adhesives, etc. Comparatively, phenolic resins are of low cost and ideal for use in areas that involve steady use and frequent cleaning. Moreover, it has about 4 to 6 weeks of lead time or duration. This material is moderately resistant to moisture as well.
What is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resins are a type of reactive pre-polymers and polymers containing epoxide groups. This material can react either with themselves (via catalytic homopolymerization) or with other co-reactants such as polyfunctional amines, acids, phenols, alcohols and thiols to form cross-links. We often name these co-reactants as hardeners or curatives. Furthermore, the cross-linking process we use here is curing. The product of this cross-linking or curing process is a thermosetting polymer material having favourable mechanical properties and high thermal and chemical resistance.
In the curing process of epoxy resin, there are several dozen chemicals we can use as curative agents. Some examples include amines, imidazoles, anhydrides and photosensitive chemicals. Generally, the uncured epoxy resin material has poor mechanical, chemical and heat resistant properties. The curing of epoxy resins is an exothermic reaction. Sometimes, this reaction produces a sufficient heat that can cause thermal degradation of the resin if the conditions are not controlled.
There are many different applications of epoxy resins, including, coating applications, adhesives, composite material production, industrial tooling applications, useful as bonding matrix along with glass or carbon fibre fabrics to produce composites with a high strength to weight characteristics, etc.
What is the Difference Between Phenolic Resin and Epoxy Resin?
Phenolic resins and epoxy resins have considerably different properties from each other. Of those, the key difference between phenolic resin and epoxy resin is that phenolic resins show a low level of heat resistance, whereas epoxy resins show a high level of heat resistance. Besides, phenolic resins are less expensive than epoxy resins.
The following infographic lists the differences between phenolic resin and epoxy resin in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Phenolic Resin vs Epoxy Resin
It is important to choose the correct material for countertops in laboratories. Phenolic resins and epoxy resins are two types of materials that we can use in this purpose. The key difference between phenolic resin and epoxy resin is that phenolic resins show a low level of heat resistance, whereas epoxy resins show a high level of heat resistance.
1. “Phenolic Resin.” The Chemical Company, 16 Nov. 2020, Available here.