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Modification of epoxy resin with kaolin as a toughening agent

Authors

  • S. Fellahi,

    Corresponding author
    1. Plastics and Rubber Engineering Department, Institut Algérien du Pétrole (IAP/SH), Boumerdes-35000, Algeria
    • Plastics and Rubber Engineering Department, Institut Algérien du Pétrole (IAP/SH), Boumerdes-35000, Algeria
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  • N. Chikhi,

    1. Plastics and Rubber Engineering Department, Institut Algérien du Pétrole (IAP/SH), Boumerdes-35000, Algeria
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  • M. Bakar

    1. Plastics and Rubber Engineering Department, Institut Algérien du Pétrole (IAP/SH), Boumerdes-35000, Algeria
    Current affiliation:
    1. Politechnika Radomska, 26-600 Radom, Poland
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Abstract

Epoxy resins are widely used as high-performance thermosetting resins for many industrial applications, but unfortunately, some are characterized by a relatively low toughness. In this respect, many efforts have been made to improve the toughness of cured epoxy resins by the introduction of rigid particles, reactive rubbers, interpenetrating polymer networks, and thermoplastics within the matrix. In this work, kaolin as a modifier was added at different contents to improve the toughness of diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A epoxy resin with polyamino-imidazoline as a curing agent. The chemical reactions suspected of taking place during the modification of the epoxy resin were monitored and evaluated with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The glass-transition temperature (Tg) was measured with differential scanning calorimetry. The mechanical behavior of the modified epoxy resin was evaluated in terms of the Izod impact strength (IS), the critical stress intensity factor (KIC), and tensile properties at different modifier contents. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to elucidate the mechanisms of deformation and toughening in addition to other morphological features. Finally, the adhesive properties of the modified epoxy resin were measured in terms of tensile shear strength (TSS). With the addition of kaolin, the reactivity test revealed that the gel time and temperature, exotherm peak, and cure time were reduced. Infrared spectra showed the existence of a chemical reaction between kaolin and the epoxy resin. The presence of kaolin caused a steady decrease in Tg by about 10°C until 15-phr kaolin was reached prior to leveling off. Most of the tensile properties attained a peak at an approximately 10-phr kaolin content where the toughening reached its maximum. The modulus increased linearly from 1.85 to 2.7 GPa with increasing kaolin content. For both notched and unnotched specimens, a twofold increase in Izod IS was obtained by the addition of just 10-phr kaolin compared to the unfilled resin. On the addition of kaolin, the Izod IS varied from 0.85 to 1.53 kJ/m2 for notched specimens and from 4.19 to 8.32 kJ/m2 for unnotched specimens, whereas KIC varied from 0.91 to 2.63 MPa m1/2 with increasing kaolin content. The adhesive properties, evaluated in terms of TSS, increased from 9.14 to 15.02 MPa. SEM analysis revealed that the prevailing toughening mechanism for the epoxy resin under consideration was localized plastic shear yielding induced by the presence of kaolin particles associated with crack pinning. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 82: 861–878, 2001

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