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Keywords:

  • thermosets;
  • curing of polymers;
  • crosslinking;
  • networks;
  • glass transition

Abstract

Unsaturated polyester resins are the most widely used thermoset resins in the composite industry. In this study, three well-defined unsaturated polyester resins were used. These resins have similar number-average molecular weights, and they have different numbers of C[DOUBLE BOND]C bonds per molecule. The reaction kinetics of unsaturated polyester resins was studied using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) and a Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer. The glass transition temperature of the isothermally cured resin was also measured. Trapped radicals were observed in the cured polyester resin from electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. Considering the diffusion-limitation effect, a simple kinetic model was developed to simulate the reaction rate and conversion profiles of polyester vinylene and styrene vinyl groups, as well as the total reaction rate and conversion. Experimental results from DSC and FTIR measurements compare favorably with the model prediction. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 84: 211–227, 2002; DOI 10.1002/app.10317