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Poly(ester-amine) hyperbranched polymer as toughening and co-curing agent for epoxy/clay nanocomposites



The marriage between hardness and flexibility of epoxy resins (improved toughness) is a desired feature, which broads their application in various industrial fields, especially for high impact resistance purposes. Accordingly, this work aims to improve toughness properties of epoxy resin (Epon-828)/Ancamine (curing agent) system using amino-terminated hyperbranched poly(ester-amine) [Poly(PEODA-NPA)] (HP) as toughening and/or co-curing agent, in presence of organo-modified Montmorillonite clay (OMMT) as a reinforcing filler. HP was synthesized via Michael addition reaction of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEODA) to N-methyl-1,3-propanediamine (NPA). Chemical structure and molecular weight of HP were elucidated using infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) techniques, respectively. Epoxy/OMMT nanocomposites toughened with HP (at different concentrations) showed remarkable improvement in their toughness without any adverse effect on the other physico-mechanical properties. The optimum concentration of HP and OMMT was found to be 20 wt % and 1–3 wt% of the epoxy resin, respectively. The extent of exfoliation and dispersion of OMMT platelets within the epoxy cured films was assessed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements. In addition, thermal gravimetric analyses (TGA-DTA) of epoxy/OMMT nanocomposites toughened with HP showed a slight increase in their decomposition temperature, particularly at low OMMT loading. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers