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Keywords:

  • foams;
  • mechanical properties;
  • morphology;
  • porous materials;
  • thermosets

ABSTRACT

Epoxy foams with different densities and microstructures were prepared by changing the process parameters including the foaming temperature, chemical foaming agent (CFA) content and precuring extent. The microstructure of foams reveals a smaller cell size, higher cell density, and more homogeneous distribution of cells at higher precuring extent. However, the cell size and distribution are not affected by the foaming temperature and CFA content without precuring process. In addition, the bubbles migration, which resulted in non-uniform cell density distribution, was promoted by increasing the foaming temperature and depressed by increasing the CFA content and precuring extent. The flexural properties of the non-uniform epoxy foams were also studied. Results showed that the flexural modulus was related to the cell morphology, while the flexural strength was affected by both the cell morphology and the position of the specimens during test. It was also found that the relative flexural modulus and strength exhibited a power-law dependence with respect to the relative density. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41175.