• blends;
  • phase separation;
  • viscoelastic properties


The phase separation of diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A/methyl tetrahydrophthalic anhydride blends modified with three poly(ether imide)s (PEIs) of different molecular weights was investigated with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and time-resolved light scattering (TRLS). The morphologies observed by SEM for the three blends were all close to a cocontinuous structure with different periodic distances. The results of TRLS indicated that the phase separation for the PEI-modified epoxy blends took place according to the spinodal decomposition mechanism and the onset time of phase separation, with the periodicity of the phase structure depending on the PEI molecular weight and cure temperature. The time-dependent peak scattering vector was simulated with a Maxwell-type viscoelastic relaxation equation, indicating that the coarsening process of epoxy droplets was mainly controlled by the viscoelastic flow. Relaxation times obtained at different temperatures for the three blends could be described by the Williams–Landel–Ferry equation. The effects of the PEI molecular weight on the processes of viscoelastic phase separation were investigated, and the observed trends could be explained qualitatively through thermodynamic analysis. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009