Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry investigation of epoxy resin curing behavior in real time



Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and principal components analysis were used in real time to monitor the progress of curing reactions on the surface of a diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) and diglycidyl ether of bisphenol F (DGEBF) epoxy resin blend reacted with the diamine hardener isophorone diamine at different time intervals. Molecular ions in the mass spectra that characterized the curing reactions steps, including blocking, coupling, branching, and crosslinking, were identified. The aliphatic hydrocarbon ions were correlated to the curing reaction rate, and this indicated that coupling and branching occurred much faster than the blocking and crosslinking curing reactions steps. The total conversion of the coupling and branching reaction steps were followed on the basis of changes with time in the relative ion intensity of molecular ions assigned to the DGEBA/DGEBF, aliphatic hydrocarbon, epoxide, and aromatic ring structures. Indicative measures of crosslinking density were monitored through the observation of changes in the ratio of the relative intensities of the aliphatic hydrocarbon and hydroxyl molecular ions over time. The curing reaction conversion was established by the observation of the changes in the relative ion intensity of the molecular ions that were related to the DGEBA/DGEBF molecules. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009