What is a Curing Agent?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Curing agents are any type of additives or ingredients that are used to help harden or cure some type of substance. These agents are used in a wide range of goods, including some foods, concrete, polymer blends, and a number of other products. A curing agent may be some sort of chemical that is added to a formula, or even be in the form of heat or cold that helps aid the process. The end result is a product that is strong, viable, and preserved so that it can provide the function and satisfaction promised by the manufacturer to the buyer.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Chemicals are often included as curing agents in different types of products. This is because the chemicals help to create a type of cross linking within the ingredients that help to solidify and provide strength for the finished products. In the case of a resin curing agent, the ingredient helps the resin used in the product to toughen and harden, making it easier to work with the product in forming all sorts of products ranging from lawn furniture to building materials.

The same general approach is found with the use of an epoxy curing agent. By including the agent in the production process at a specific point in time, the epoxy or adhesive product achieves a degree of solidity that would not be possible otherwise. For example, a simple product like epoxy glue makes use of an agent or catalyst that aids in the drying process and makes it possible for the product to bind two objects securely.

Curing also takes place with food products. One common example is meat. A curing agent such as heat and smoke may be used to cure meats, sufficiently altering the chemical composition of the meat so that the nutrients are retained but the rate of spoilage is reduced. This in turn allows the meat to remain useful for longer periods of time, even when refrigeration is not used to preserve the product.

The use of a curing agent must be within the industry standards established for the types of goods produced. In some cases, such as in the selection of curing agents for use in preserving food products, the curing agent must be approved by a governmental agency that determines which additives are safe and which pose a threat to the health of consumers. Over time, new agents have been developed that make it possible to provide more strength and endurance to a number of products made with different types of resins and other materials, and in general make it possible to produce goods that remain useful for longer periods of time.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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