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Miscibility, crystallization κinetics and real-time small-Angle x-ray scattering investigation of the semicrystalline morphology in thermosetting polymer blends of epoxy resin and poly(ethylene oxide)

journal contribution
posted on 2001-04-01, 00:00 authored by Qipeng Guo, C Harrats, G Groeninckx, M Koch
Thermosetting polymer blends of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) and bisphenol-A-type epoxy resin (ER) were prepared using 4,4′-methylenebis(3-chloro-2,6-diethylaniline) (MCDEA) as curing agent. The miscibility and crystallization behavior of MCDEA-cured ER/PEO blends were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The existence of a single composition-dependent glass transition temperature (Tg) indicates that PEO is completely miscible with MCDEA-cured ER in the melt and in the amorphous state over the entire composition range. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) investigations indicated hydrogen-bonding interaction between the hydroxyl groups of MCDEA-cured ER and the ether oxygens of PEO in the blends, which is an important driving force for the miscibility of the blends. The average strength of the hydrogen bond in the cured ER/PEO blends is higher than in the pure MCDEA-cured ER. Crystallization kinetics of PEO from the melt is strongly influenced by the blend composition and the crystallization temperature. At high conversion, the time dependence of the relative degree of crystallinity deviated from the Avrami equation. The addition of a non-crystallizable ER component into PEO causes a depression of both the overall crystallization rate and the melting temperature. The surface free energy of folding σe displays a minimum with variation of composition. The spherulitic morphology of PEO in the ER/PEO blends exhibits typical characteristics of miscible crystalline/amorphous blends, and the PEO spherulites in the blends are always completely volume-filling. Real-time small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) experiments reveal that the long period L increases drastically with increasing ER content at the same temperatures. The amorphous cured ER component segregates interlamellarly during the crystallization process of PEO because of the low chain mobility of the cured ER. A model describing the semicrystalline morphology of MCDEA-cured ER/PEO blends is proposed based on the SAXS results. The semicrystalline morphology is a stack of crystalline lamellae; the amorphous fraction of PEO, the branched ER chains and imperfect ER network are located between PEO lamellae.









4127 - 4140


Elsevier Ltd.


New York, N.Y.








Available online 14 February 2001.

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2001, Elsevier Science Ltd