We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Thermosets?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Thermoplastics are materials that take a hardened form after they are heated and allowed to cool. When these materials are heated again, they generally convert to liquid and can be reformed. Thermosets also take a hardened form after they have been heated and allowed to cool. A major difference is that thermosets cannot be melted down and reformed. There are many types of thermosets, such as vulcanized rubber and epoxy resin.

Some materials, such as thermoplastics, can be found in forms that can be changed with heat. A simplified way of drawing a contrast is to view those items as many molecules that have been melted together but whose bonds can be released upon reheating. With thermosets, however, when the materials are heated, the molecules merge irreversibly. Reheating will not release the bonds. Instead, reheating is most likely to destroy the materials.

For this reason, thermoset materials are typically considered to be non-recyclables. For many people, this is a major disadvantage. There are many factors about thermosets, however, that can be seen as advantages. This includes their strength and durability.

Before thermosets are made, the materials are often in liquid form or another form that makes them susceptible to shaping. The process that those materials are put through to create the finished form is known as curing. There are several types of curing processes. Each tends to produce different types of materials.

One curing process is vulcanization, which is used to make vulcanized rubber for products such as tires, bowling balls, and hoses. There are several methods of vulcanization, but overall they are all generally considered irreversible processes. The rubber produced tends to differ from natural rubber in several ways. It is less sticky, resistant to heat, and more capable of holding the desired shape.

Some thermosets are produced when an epoxide, such as epichlorohydrin, is mixed with a hardener, such as bisphenol-A. Completion of such a polymerization process can result in epoxy resins. These materials are considered very versatile because most of their characteristics can be altered by making modifications during the process. Epoxy resins tend to have excellent chemical and heat resistance.

Epoxy resins are used in numerous industries. Artists use the material as a painting medium. In the electronics field, epoxy resin is used to produce circuit boards and transistors. It is also used by many as an adhesive.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon316637 — On Jan 29, 2013

How long do melamine cabinets last before they begin to break down and decompress, releasing formaldehyde?

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.