Pot Life

Definition - What does Pot Life mean?

Pot life is the time a raw material or semi-finished product retains its processing properties after final preparation (mixing of components, adding of catalysts, etc.). Pot life measurement can be used to calculate failure in:

  • Concrete and composite
  • Paints, coatings and epoxy
  • Resins and varnishes

Coating/paint failures can occur due to application of coatings after the end of pot life.

Pot life is also known as working life, usable life or gel time.

Corrosionpedia explains Pot Life

Pot life is the amount of time after mixing a two-part paint system during which it can be applied. In resin, pot life is the length of time that a catalyzed resin system retains a viscosity low enough to be used in processing. In adhesive, it is the period of time after mixing during which an adhesive remains suitable for use. The more adhesive that is mixed, the more an adhesive's pot life decreases.

Factors that directly influence pot life include:

  • Working temperature
  • Mass of the mixed material
  • Speed of the hardener

Pot life is measured in the lab at an ambient temperature of 77°F (25°C) for a certain mass of mixed material, usually 100 grams unless otherwise stated. As the mass of the mixed material increases, the pot life and cure time decrease. As the mass decreases, the pot life and cure time increase. The choice of hardener affects the pot life of a system. One epoxy resin can be used with a large number of different speed hardeners to get a wide range of pot life.

Typically, pot life ends when the product is no longer pourable; however, more appropriately, pot life measurements are subjective to the application. In the coatings and adhesives industry, Pot life test is typically performed using a Brookfield (or similar) rotational viscometer.

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