Deconstructing Epoxy vs Phenolic Resin for Your Laboratory

What is epoxy resin?

Epoxy is an adhesive, plastic, and paint or coating material used in a wide range of products. It is made from a mixture of materials, including (list here) , and then cured as a solid product.

When combined with plastic, epoxy is used as the resin mold to hold the plastic in place. It’s compatible with all common reinforcing fibers including fiberglass and carbon fiber, but epoxies cater to the desired application, experiment or manufacturing process. 

There are various advantages to using epoxy resin, but the main consideration is heat. Epoxy is an optimal material when dealing with higher temperatures in your laboratory, with a range capability of 300-350º C. Additional advantages include:

  1. Environmental and moisture degradation resistance
  2. Resistance to a wide range of chemicals
  3. High mechanical strength and impact resistance
  4. No volatile organic compounds

The main downside to using epoxy resin on your countertops is both the weight and the sourcing. Epoxy is very heavy, which adds to its durability but will also add in transportation and installment costs. In terms of sourcing, there is currently only one epoxy manufacturer in the world, which will give you less flexibility in cost and delivery terms.

What is phenolic resin?

Phenolic resin is a type of synthetic resin originally called Bakelite. It is heat-cured and formed from a reaction between carbon-based alcohol and aldehyde. In regards to laboratory equipment, phenolic resin carries almost all of the same properties as epoxy resin but at a lower cost to the client.

Phenolic resin is ideal for lab environments where contamination is a key concern. Phenolic resin is oil and moisture resistant, as well as resistant to most bacteria and fungus. As with epoxy, phenolic resin is optimal for environments working with high heats (up to 350ºF/ 176ºC).

At Genie we recommend using phenolic resin because it is locally sourced, which means lower cost and efficient delivery times for your projects. It’s also easier to work with, install, and it’s not as heavy giving it more customizable options.  Additional advantages include:

  1. Structurally sturdy
  2. Considered the new standard in a wide range of laboratories
  3. Can be mixed with a wide range of materials
  4. One of the very first plastics to be sold commercially
  5. Fire resistant
Caylie Morck