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Evaluation of the complex hygrothermal behaviors of epoxy–amine systems



In this study, the complex hygrothermal behavior of two epoxy systems used for strengthening applications was studied. In these systems, property loss by plasticization simultaneously occurred with property gain during additional curing. A comparison of the changes in the glass-transition temperature (Tg) and crosslink density with water immersion at different temperatures clearly showed that the two effects of additional curing by a postcuring reaction and plasticization by water absorption were in competition with each other during the exposure. The changes in the conversion with different exposure conditions suggested that water accelerated the postcuring reaction, even at low temperatures; this resulted in a significant difference in the postcuring reaction between unexposed and exposed epoxies. The construction of the plot of Tg versus conversion for the unexposed system and the placement of the Tg for exposed systems onto this master plot provided a method for evaluating the plasticization effect while excluding the influence of additional curing. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012