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Epoxy/poly(ɛ-caprolactone) nanocomposites: Effect of transformations of structure on crystallization


Correspondence to: I. Kelnar (E-mail:


The influence of morphology of the epoxy/poly(ɛ-caprolactone) (PCL) system and corresponding nanocomposites with organophilized layered silicate on PCL crystallization was studied by differential scanning calorimetry, scanning, and transmission electron microscopy. The results obtained indicate a significant affecting of nonisothermal PCL crystallization by phase morphology brought about by the reaction-induced phase separation (RIPS) influenced either by various nanoclay contents or the epoxy/PCL ratio. Dispersed morphology of PCL matrix with epoxy globules induces crystallization at higher temperatures. The inverse dispersed morphology of epoxy matrix with PCL inclusions causes crystallization at lower temperature. The co-continuous morphology induces crystallization in both steps. Rate of the second crystallization step is substantially higher than that in the first step. No nucleation effect has been found in the nanocomposites with the added nanofiller. Multicomponent samples show retarded crystallization, i.e., lower crystallinities and lower overall crystallization rate compared with neat PCL. The results obtained suggest that it is primarily morphological/interfacial effects that play a decisive role in the crystallization behavior of PCL in the epoxy/PCL/clay system. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3197–3204, 2013