Interdiffusion of thermoplastics and epoxy resin precursors: investigations using experimental and molecular dynamics methods

Authors

  • David Dumont,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences—Bio and Soft Matter (IMCN/BSMA), Université catholique de Louvain, SST/IMCN/BSMA, Croix du Sud, 1, L7.04.02, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
    • Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences—Bio and Soft Matter (IMCN/BSMA), Université catholique de Louvain, SST/IMCN/BSMA, Croix du Sud, 1, L7.04.02, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
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  • David Seveno,

    1. Laboratory of Surface and Interfacial Physics, Université de Mons, Place Du Parc, 20, B-7000 Mons, Belgium
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  • Joël De Coninck,

    1. Laboratory of Surface and Interfacial Physics, Université de Mons, Place Du Parc, 20, B-7000 Mons, Belgium
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  • Christian Bailly,

    1. Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences—Bio and Soft Matter (IMCN/BSMA), Université catholique de Louvain, SST/IMCN/BSMA, Croix du Sud, 1, L7.04.02, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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  • Jacques Devaux,

    1. Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences—Bio and Soft Matter (IMCN/BSMA), Université catholique de Louvain, SST/IMCN/BSMA, Croix du Sud, 1, L7.04.02, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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  • Daniel Daoust

    1. Institute of Condensed Matter and Nanosciences—Bio and Soft Matter (IMCN/BSMA), Université catholique de Louvain, SST/IMCN/BSMA, Croix du Sud, 1, L7.04.02, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
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Abstract

Toughening of epoxy thermosets with thermoplastics is an important avenue towards improved properties of high-performance systems. The main focus of the work reported was to study the complex issue of interdiffusion between thermoplastics and epoxy resin precursors, using a combination of experimental and numerical simulation methods, in order to understand the key parameters driving the process. Diameter changes of thermoplastic filaments in contact with epoxide and diamine precursors have been followed and an original approach using carbon nanotubes as tracers of the filament swelling front has been developed. This method shows that the improved mobility of low-molecular-weight resin monomers as well as the greater mobility of phenoxy of lower glass transition temperature as compared to poly(ether sulfone) control dissolution by favouring the penetration of precursors into the thermoplastic and lead to both swelling of the outer part of the filaments and reduction of the inner unaffected core. Simulation by molecular dynamics supports the idea that diffusion of polymer macromolecules remains limited compared to the dominant effect of precursor diffusion. Indeed, low diffusion coefficients have been predicted for thermoplastic oligomers compared to resin monomers. For the latter, the calculated values correlate well with the experimental data measured during interdiffusion. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry

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