Many advantageous properties of cross-linked polymers relate to their network structures. In this study, network structures of three DGEBA-based epoxy systems at various DGEBA monomer sizes were investigated via equilibrium swelling and glass transition behavior. Each system was cured with a tetra-functional diamine, 4,4′-methylenebiscyclohexanamine, in the presence of a nonreactive solvent, i.e., THF at a solvent-to-monomer volume fraction ranging from 0 to 92%. Experimental results revealed that the conventional swelling model (the Dušek model) accurately calculates Mc values of the cured gels prepared in moderate dilute environments, up to approximately 60% by volume of THF. For gels cured in extreme dilute environments, i.e., in the presence of above 60% by volume of THF, the calculated Mc values using the Dušek model were found to increase sharply as a function of the initial solvent content. The observed dramatic increase in Mc values was not supported by the dry Tg of the identical polymer systems. In fact, the dry Tg values of the polymer systems were found to be relatively insensitive to the initial solvent content. A modification was proposed to the Dušek model that incorporates an additional term, which accounts for the probability of finding elastic chains in a polymer network. Using the modified equation, Mc values were varied as expected with the molecular weight of DGEBA and insensitive to the amount of the solvent initially used during cure. Furthermore, the modified Mc values were shown to be consistent with the dry Tg values in view of the Fox and Loshaek model.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)