Polyamine-Based Hardeners

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About polyamine-based hardeners

Polyamine based hardeners are used to cure epoxy resins at room temperature. Epoxys are usually sold as a two-pack system – Part A (epoxy resin) and Part B (hardener). There are many different types of hardeners available and polyamine based hardeners are a common type. Polyamine hardeners are made up of an organic molecule containing two or more amine groups. Other types of hardeners include polyamide hardeners and anhydride hardeners, although these types react only with heat.

Polyamine hardeners used by the composites industry are usually made up of more then one polyamine compound and other additives to give the required properties. For more detail on epoxy resins read the section titled epoxy resins.

Epoxy resin and hardener are both supplied as liquids. When epoxy resin and polyamine hardeners are mixed at room temperature, they react and crosslinks are formed between the two chemicals. When some of the crosslinks have formed, the system forms a gel and is said to be “gelled”. When most of the crosslinks have formed, the system forms a solid and is said to be “cured”.

Polyamine hardeners are corrosive liquids and some are moderately toxic. They can cause irritation and chemical burns of the skin and eyes. If polyamine hardeners come in contact with the skin, sensitisation can occur. This can occur after short or long term exposure. Once a person has become sensitised, any future exposure results in an allergic response. Effects include dermatitis of the skin and redness and irritation of the skin and eyes, even with minimal exposure.

Special Protection Information

Respiratory Protection: Adequate ventilation must be provided. If above the NOHSC exposure standard, use SA approved respiratory protective equipment. If dust is generated during cutting or machining/grinding/sanding of cured product, wear disposable dust mask (Type P1) or better as determined by your risk assessment. When using resin system (including hardener) with fibres, use combination mask with vapour and dust particle filter.
Eye Protection: Use SA approved chemical splash goggles.
Protective Clothing: Wear chemical resistant gloves such as butyl rubber or neoprene rubber gloves. Apply barrier creams to un-covered skin. Wear full length trousers and long sleeved shirts and safety boots. Wear a plastic coated apron.

Effects of Exposure

Eyes: Will cause severe irritation and corrosion. May cause permanent damage to the eyes.
Inhalation: Irritation and possible damage to the upper respiratory tract will occur, especially if heated prior to or during use or if a mist is generated.
Skin: Will at best cause severe irritation. At worst, may cause chemical burns. Some polyamines are known to cause sensitisation of the skin.
Swallowing: Can cause severe damage to the mouth and gastrointestinal tracts. Some polyamines are also of concern with respect to being toxic.

First Aid Procedures

Eyes: Flush with water for at least 15 minutes. Inhalation: Remove to fresh air. If breathing is difficult, seek immediate medical assistance.
Skin: Remove contaminated clothing for laundering. Wash with soap and water. Do NOT use solvents.
Swallowing: Do NOT induce vomiting. If person is conscious, they should drink large quantities of water. Seek medical advice immediately.

Spill or Leak Procedures

Eliminate all sources of ignition and ventilate area. Wearing protective equipment, stop spill at source and dam area and if possible pump liquid into salvage tank. Alternatively, absorb residue with vermiculite or sand. Scoop up using non-sparking tools into a polyethylene-lined labelled waste container. Avoid contact with metals such as Aluminium. Dispose of waste by incineration in accordance with local, state and federal regulations.  Reporting of leaks/spills may be required under EPA and Dangerous Goods regulations.

Fire Extinguishing Procedures

Wear protective clothing and equipment including self-contained breathing equipment. In general, use water, mist, foam or carbon dioxide to put out fires. (Refer to MSDS). Cool fire exposed containers with water spray.

Storage and Handling Procedures

DG Class 8 (Corrosive). Store in properly closed, labelled containers in a cool, well ventilated area. Keep away from strong oxidizing agents and sources of ignition. Do not transfer to unmarked containers. Do not transfer to unapproved plastic containers. Open containers outside to allow venting of any vapours, especially if warmed. Earth containers when pouring to prevent the discharge of static electricity.

KEY to abbreviations – CNS: Central Nervous System EPA: Environmental Protection Authority NOHSC: National Occupational Health & Safety Commission (Worksafe Australia) PVC: Polyvinyl chloride SA: Standards Australia

Disclaimer: Facts and information reported on this page are believed by Composites Australia to be accurate at the date of printing. No responsibility is accepted by Composites Australia for the use or misuse of information on this page. Composites Australia accepts no responsibility for damage or injury caused by information or omissions contained on this page.