Rheological studies of ultraviolet curing with an oscillating plate rheometer



The dynamic viscoelastic behavior during UV curing was studied for thin liquid films of epoxy acrylate prepolymer by the use of an oscillating plate rheometer. The dynamic viscosity rapidly increases after a certain period of irradiation, so that the UV curing process has the minimum exposure energy required to start polymerization. The minimum exposure energy markedly increases with increasing sample thickness; this results from the inconsistency of degree of curing in the direction perpendicular to the shearing surface. Since free radicals which initiate polymerization are formed by photochemical decomposition of initiator, the ability to cure a film depends on the light intensity at a given depth of the film. the attenuation of light in the film is primarily responsible for this inconsistency. When UV light is applied through a UV filter, the curing behavior is analyzed by a single exponential decay of light with depth because the curing is induced by absorption of a monochromatic light of 365 nm. On the other hand, when UV light from a UV lamp whose output spectrum is a continuum is directly applied, the curing behavior is explained by a combination of energy absorption at different wavelengths. In both cases, the theoretical curves of dynamic viscosity predicted in relation to spectral sensitivity show a good agreement with the experimental results.