SAMPE 2013 is over and it’s time for me to leave the sunny summer coast. Monday I left Toronto sunny and 80⁰F. I get to Los Angeles to rain and 65⁰F. Show’s over, it’s Thursday night and guess what? Raining and 65⁰F. But enough complaining.
Sitting on a patio watching the sun go down on the Pacific ocean (ok not really a complaint), locals are wearing jackets and I’m sitting happily in a golf shirt. It reminded me of something: “room temperature” isn’t just the temperature the room happens to be.
Here in Southern California, and for many places, it’s pegged at 77⁰F. Back in Toronto, it’s usually said to be 20⁰C (68⁰F). For resins and adhesives which generate and need heat to cure, this is a huge difference. They call them “thermoset” for a reason.
Why bring this up? We get hundreds of calls a year (usually in the spring and fall when temperatures vary a lot) about things curing too slowly or quickly. Our first question is typically “how warm is your shop?” and we are nearly always told “room temperature”. Then starts the discussion of difference between thermostat setting and measured local shop temps, substrate temps, material temps, heater placement, all the things which influence how warm or cold the material is where it’s actually being used.
We’re not just being fussy. Working times stated on technical data sheets are measured under very specific conditions, including temperature. Data sheets should always show gel time with mass and temperature. If your testing does not match those two conditions at least, I can promise you different results. Other things certainly influence this, but these two are critical and often overlooked.
Why bring it up from a patio in Long Beach? Because we feel it’s our job to ensure our customers get good predictable results using our products. Good technical support, experienced, hands on technical support is hard to come by these days. We know how fussy these things can be because we’ve experienced them for ourselves. So we’ll be fussy, and we’re convinced your projects will be better for it.
Now I’m going to finish my beer while I’m still warm and it’s still cold.