, Volume 283, Issue 2, pp 145-153
Date: 25 May 2004

Development of co-continuous morphology in epoxy poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) blends cured by mixtures of phase-separating and non-phase-separating curing agents

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Abstract

The morphology of a quaternary blend containing a diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A (DGEBA), a thermoplastic modifier (PMMA), a phase-separating curing agent (diaminodiphenylmethane, DDM), and a non-phase-separating curing agent (methylenebis(3-chloro-2,6-diethylaniline, MCDEA) was studied as a function of volume fraction of the thermoplastic modifier and fractional concentration of the curing agents in their mixture. It was found that using mixtures of curing agents a co-continuous morphology could be obtained at PMMA concentrations as low as 2.5 volume percent. Using FTIR spectroscopy it was proved that specific interactions are present between PMMA and individual amine curing agents. On the other hand, there was no detectable specific interaction between PMMA and DGEBA. By analyzing the micro-indentation hardness data of the cryo-fractured samples and putting forward the “intrinsic hardness” concept, it was proposed that the co-continuous morphology is inherently more effective than the other morphologies in changing the mechanical properties of the above-mentioned multi-component blends.