Improvement of fracture toughness and glass transition temperature of DGEBA‐based epoxy systems using toughening and crosslinking modifiers
Several toughening and crosslinking modifiers were tested in two epoxy resin systems based on the diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) with the objective to improve the critical stress intensity factor KIC and the glass transition temperature (Tg) simultaneously. An amine hardener (isophorone diamine (IPD)) and a homopolymerization initiator (1‐ethyl‐3‐methylimidazolium acetate (EMIM Ac)) were used as curing agents. The highest effect on the KIC value of the resin system DGEBA/IPD (KIC = 0.72 MPa1/2; Tg = 164°C) was achieved with the dendric polymer Boltorn P501 (10 wt%), but it decreased the Tg (KIC = 1.39 MPa1/2; Tg = 136°C). A high toughening effect with a low decrease of Tg was achieved with a combination of a self‐organized block copolymer (Nanostrength M22N) and silica nanoparticles (Nanopox F400) (KIC =1.15 MPa1/2; Tg =157°C). The KIC value of the resin system DGEBA/EMIM Ac was improved from 0.44 to 0.66 MPa1/2. An improvement of both, the thermal and mechanical properties was established for a combination of a poly(tetrahydrofuran) as toughening modifier (PolyTHF2000) with the post‐crosslinking modifier diethylphosphite (DEP) in the resin system DGEBA/IPD (KIC = 0.86 MPa1/2; Tg = 180°C). A system with chemical linkages between both modifiers was investigated for comparison but yielded inferior results.