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Keywords:

  • adhesives;
  • epoxy;
  • damage zone;
  • rubber toughening;
  • fracture toughness;
  • toughening mechanisms;
  • SEM;
  • TEM

Abstract

Three different commercial triblock copolymers from Arkema were evaluated as potential toughening agents for two different lightly crosslinked epoxies. It was found that the plane strain fracture toughness, KIC, was on the order of 3.0 MPa√m for 10 parts per hundred resin (phr) of NanoStrength™ E20 resin (a styrene–butadiene–methylacrylate, SBM, type triblock copolymer) in epoxies cured with either aminoethylpiperazine or piperidine. In contrast, 10 phr NanoStrength E40 resin (also an SBM type triblock copolymer) was ineffective in toughening such epoxies. The difference in toughening effectiveness was attributed to the smaller amount of polybutadiene present in the E40 resin. The third toughening agent from Arkema was NanoStrength M22 resin, which is a symmetric triblock copolymer consisting of side blocks of PMMA surrounding a center block of poly(butyl acrylate) and is designated as MAM. At 10 phr MAM both lightly crosslinked epoxies exhibited improvements in toughness. Morphologies were characterized using TEM and toughening mechanisms revealed using SEM and TOM. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 45: 1470–1481, 2007