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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Definition of Shelf Life

Shelf life is an arbitrary time for practical storage of a thermoset system.

Shelf life derives from the storage concept; i.e., how long can a thermoset be left on the shelf before it becomes difficult or even impossible to use in the intended application.

The term can refer to a one-can system (e.g., a phenolic molding compound must be molded within 1 year of compounding) or a two-can mix that must be set aside for a few hours before use.
Shelf life is also used to describe the storage stability of unmixed components of a thermosetting resin system if there is some threat to their reactivity as a consequence of the storage. For example, some curing agents are very hygroscopic and will lose reactivity if airborne moisture were to penetrate the storage container.