A series of bio-rubber (BR) reactive tougheners for thermosetting epoxy resins was prepared by grafting renewable saturated fatty acids of different chain lengths (C6-C14) onto epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) at varying molar ratios. The tunable nature of the BR systems derives from the architecture and functionality of naturally occurring molecules. Control of BR reactivity and molecular weight by varying the degree of grafting and the chain length of the fatty acid was demonstrated. The BR-toughened samples were prepared by blending BRs with diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA), Epon 828, and stoichiometrically curing the mixture using an aromatic amine hardener, diethyl toluene diamine (Epikure W). Fracture surface morphology studies showed that tuning of phase separated particle sizes was possible depending on the BR type and weight fraction. The resulting toughening effect was evaluated by measuring the fracture toughness of control and toughened polymer samples. The use of BRs significantly improved the critical strain energy release rate and critical stress intensity factor values of thermosetting polymer samples without significantly reducing Tg and modulus. In addition to toughening and adding renewable content to petroleum-based thermosetting epoxy systems these new tougheners have low viscosity compared to common alternatives and aid ease of processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry