Journal of Coatings Technology and Research

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 145–155 | Cite as

Thermal characterization of solvent-free epoxy coatings by rheology and kinetics combined

  • Weih Q. LeeEmail author


Rheology and kinetics are a pair of indispensable attributes in defining thermally reactive polymer coatings and paints. In this work, cure paths of volatile organic compound-free epoxy powder coatings, under heat, were characterized by viscoelastic and kinetic techniques. The essential rheological meanings of the gel point, the minimum complex viscosity, and the shear moduli from dynamic mechanical analysis curves were elucidated from applied formulation perspectives. Meanwhile, the maximum cure reaction rate and the peak temperature from differential scanning calorimetry exothermic profiles were quantitatively interpreted using primarily the extent of cure along with viscoelastic data. Vitrification and devitrification during cure were observed for high glass transition (Tg) epoxy formulations, unless a fast rate of heating was employed to a high enough temperature. Thorough and complete cure description provides strong insights for product development, allowing flow and cure properties to be balanced for optimal line performance. The consolidated approach is applicable to nearly all B-staged thermosetting systems of 100% solids including conditioned prepregs and a variety of adhesives per applications, as well as direct-to-metal primers or topcoats per functions.


Thermal characterization Epoxy coatings Rheology DMA Kinetics of cure DSC Gelation Complex viscosity Dynamic modulus Extent of cure Cure reaction rate Viscoelasticity Vitrification Rate of heating 

List of symbols


Pre-exponential factor in cure kinetics


Activation energy (J/mol)

m, n

Reaction orders in autocatalytic model


Extent (or degree) of cure (%)

\(\dot{\alpha }\)

Cure reaction rate, = dα/dt


Extent of cure at gelation

\(\dot{\alpha }_{ \hbox{max} }\)

Maximum cure reaction rate, = dαmax/dt


Rate of heating for cure, or heat rate (°C/min)


Phase angle


Enthalpy, heat of reactions, reactivity (J/g)


Strain (%)

\(\dot{\gamma }\)

Strain rate (1/s)


Coefficient in Power law


Relaxation time (s)


Deborah number

E: E′, E

Tensile modulus: storage, loss (or elastic, viscous component)


Shear viscosity (Pa s)


Extensional viscosity


Complex or dynamic viscosity

η*min, η*max

Minimum viscosity, maximum viscosity

G: G′, G

Shear modulus: storage, loss (or elastic, viscous component)

Gmin, Gmin

Minimum storage, loss modulus (Pa)

Gmax, Gmax

Maximum storage, loss modulus


Gas constant (8.314 J/mol K)


Temperature (°C or K)


Time (s)


Cure temperature


Temperature at gelation




Glass transition temperature (°C)


Peak temperature on DSC exothermic curves


Shear stress (Pa)

Type 4, 5, 7 epoxy

Repeating units of 5, 8, and 11, respectively, in BPA-derived resins


The Poisson ratio



The author greatly thanks Robert G. Polance, a Senior Staff R&D Chemist at the Sherwin-Williams Company in Minneapolis, the USA, for his DMA operations and valuable perspectives in support of this work.


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Copyright information

© American Coatings Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sherwin-Williams CompanyMinneapolisUSA

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