What Does Curing Mean?
Curing is a process during which a chemical reaction (such as polymerization) or physical action (such as evaporation) takes place, resulting in a harder, tougher or more stable linkage (such as an adhesive bond) or substance (such as concrete). Some curing processes require maintenance of a certain temperature and/or humidity level, others require a certain pressure.
Cure monitoring methods give a significant insight to the chemical process and define process actions towards achieving specific quality indices of the cured substance.
Corrosionpedia Explains Curing
Curing involves any process where heat is used to catalyze or initiate chemical and molecular-level structural changes in a polymeric material such as epoxies, phenolics, polyesters and silicones. These materials are applied in many ways to various products for bonding, protective coating, sealing, insulation and other uses.
In polymerization, curing is a term in polymer chemistry and process engineering that refers to the toughening or hardening of a polymer material by cross-linking of polymer chains, brought about by electron beams, heat or chemical additives. When the additives are activated by ultraviolet radiation, the process is called UV cure. In rubber, the curing process is also called vulcanization.
In concrete, curing is the process in which the concrete is protected from loss of moisture and kept within a reasonable temperature range. This process results in concrete with increased strength and decreased permeability.
Curing is a key element in mitigating cracks, which can severely affect durability. Cracks allow open access for harmful materials to bypass the low-permeability concrete near the surface. Good curing can help mitigate the appearance of cracking.
Air curing and hot fan curing are often used for curing small production runs, despite inconsistent results. Large production runs often are cured in batches in large ovens which must be run continuously. Induction heating provides a much better solution for adhesive curing.