Resin Art Basics - What Does Gel Time, Pot Life, Curing Time Mean?
by Anshuman Dave on Aug 10, 2021
If you are beginning to use epoxy resin and are wondering what exactly does gel time, pot life or curing time mean, then you are at the right place. Read till the end to understand what these terms mean and why are they important in world of any resin artist.
Let’s look at the process a resin artist engages in to understand these terms –
- Mixing resin and hardener – We mix resin and hardener together in a specified ratio by the brand you’re using (For example – Pourfect art resin is mixed in the ratio of 3:1 where 3 parts resin and 1 part hardener by weight are combined for pour)
- Pouring it over artwork – Once it is mixed, then we pour it in style and pattern as we like over our artwork.
- Let the artwork DRY – As it goes with anything liquid, we have to let our epoxy artwork dry before we can use it.
NOW the time that we can take between step 1 of mixing and step 2 of pouring is not infinite. It is limited. Why is it limited? Because once the resin and hardener are mixed together, they start to react with each other and in certain time, they will start to get thicker making it impossible to pour.
This particular time is called GEL TIME or POT LIFE of resin. Because of this reason, it is called open time or work time of resin.
It is measured at a certain room temperature and starts as soon as you have mixed resin and hardener systems. It varies for different resin systems. For example – Pourfect art resin has a gel time of 70 minutes. Pourfect Fast Cure system has a gel time of 25 minutes and Thick Cast system has a gel time of 3 hours.
NOW the time after you have finished pouring and before your artwork actually dries is called CURE TIME. People often talk about when it can get surface dry and when it is completely dry. Curing time measures the time it takes to completely cure/dry – shutting it for any further chemical reaction. This also varies for different resin systems.
What Is Cure Time For Pourfect 3:1 ART RESIN?
Short answer : 24 Hours under normal conditions.
Long answer : Epoxy curing is a chemical process and it takes Pourfect Art Resins 24 hours to undergo the process of transformation from liquid to solid.
Even after 24 hours, it reaches around 95% of curing, as in surface of your epoxy resin becomes hard. Only after 72 hours it attains full internal curing. This is the ideal time to wait before handling/using your products. Also these values are dependent on atmospheric temperature, speeding up during summers and slowing down during winters.
For example – Pourfect Art resin has a curing time of 24 hours.
Why Should You Care About These Times As A Resin User?
About gel time,
First and foremost, since gel time is also your working time with resin, you must know what it is for the epoxy system that you are using.
Secondly, if you are an artist creating resin project in layers and you want to reduce the lines between those layers, then you must pour the second layer while the first layer is still in its gel phase. In case you pour your second layer after the first layer has cured, then it would show a clear partition line between those layers from the sides.
About cure time,
Depending on the timelines of your project and kind of pattern you are looking to create, you have to decide what cure time works best for you.
For example, if you want to pour clear layer but you want your artwork/project to be ready very soon to be shipped to customers or for usage, then you would prefer an epoxy system with shorter cure time.
But remember, shorter cure time also means lesser gel time which is your working time with resin. So, if you are looking to create an elaborate pattern requiring multiple layers of working, then you might not prefer a resin system with low cure time.
For more queries/ thoughts on this – comment below or reach out to us on email@example.com or message/call us at +91 6265449375
Stay safe and get your #pourfectpour.