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Keywords:

  • vinyl ester resins;
  • glycidyl methacrylate (GMA);
  • methyl methacrylate (MMA);
  • curing;
  • thermal behavior;
  • diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A (DGEBA)

Abstract

The effects of oxirane groups in vinyl ester (VE) resin and reactive diluent on curing characteristics and thermal behavior of cured resins are described. Stoichiometric (0.5:1, sample A) as well as nonstoichiometric (0.5:0.85, sample B) ratios of the diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A (DGEBA) and methacrylic acid (MA) were used for the synthesis of VE resins. Resin sample B had more residual epoxy groups because of the stoichiometric imbalance of the reactants. VE resins thus obtained were diluted with methyl methacrylate (MMA; 1:1, w/w), and controlled quantities of epoxy groups were introduced by partial replacement of MMA with glycidyl methacrylate (GMA), keeping the overall ratio of resin and reactive diluent constant. Increase of GMA content in resin A or B resulted in a decrease in gel time, indicating that the curing reaction is facilitated by the presence of epoxy groups. An increase in initiator content also reduced the gel time. In the differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) scans, a sharp curing exotherm was observed in the temperature range 107 ± 3–150 ± 1 °C. The onset temperature (Tonset) and peak exotherm temperature (Texo) decreased with increase in GMA content. Heat of curing (ΔH) also increased with increase in GMA content. A broad exotherm was observed after the initial sharp exotherm that was attributed to the etherification reaction. Cured VE resins were stable up to 250–260 °C, and started losing weight above this temperature. Rapid decomposition was observed in the temperature range 400–500 °C. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 82: 416–423, 2001