Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics

Characterization of epoxy-surfactant interactions

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We have investigated epoxies based on the diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) cured with 2-ethyl-4-methylimidazole (EMI-24) in the presence of the non-ionic surfactant Triton X-100. A goal was to determine if the viscoelastic properties of the epoxy-surfactant system differed when prepared in bulk form, as opposed to being cast as a thin film on the surface of E-glass cloth. Such a combination of materials has generated great interest for potential use in the construction of laminated circuit boards. Using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM), it was determined that the surfactant acts as a plasticizer and is miscible with the epoxy system in concentrations up to 15% by weight. The glass transition temperature (Tg) depression of the epoxy due to the surfactant was accurately described by the Fox equation. DMA master curves were constructed in the frequency domain. The temperature dependence of the shift factors was used to determine the fragility of each of the samples studied. It was found that the fragility (cooperativity) of the epoxy decreased as the concentration of surfactant increased, presumably due to a reduction of intermolecular constraints. The fragility of the combined epoxy-surfactant system increased when cast on the surface of the E-glass cloth. Results for our model epoxy-surfactant resin were in excellent agreement with those obtained using a commercially available aqueous waterborne epoxy resin. © 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.