Cure of aqueous phenol-formaldehyde resin at elevated water vapor pressures
Ballerini, Aldo A.
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The intent of this research was to enhance our knowledge of aqueous phenolformaldehyde resin cure as it is affected by the elevated water vapor pressures that occur during hot-pressing of a wood-based composite. Microdielectric spectroscopy (DEA) was used to monitor the cure reaction, and thermomechanical analysis (TMA), swelling tests and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques were used to characterize the final resin-network. Microdielectric results showed that as the water vapor pressure of the sy stem increases the time to gelation increases. It was also found that the injection of saturated water vapor sharply decreased the gelation time when compared to the other water vapor environmental conditions. In addition, it was found that the higher the water vapor pressure the lower the residual ion viscosity. Thermomechanical analysis and swelling test experiments showed that as the water vapor pressure increases the glass transition temperature and the cross-link density of the cured resin-network decreases. Considerable differences in the morphology of the network were found using SEM. Thus, it can be established that during the curing process under elevated water vapor pressures of a liquid phenol-formaldehyde adhesi ve some water is trapped into the resin network and it is acting as a plasticizer. A theoretical approach to model the cure kinetics of phenol-formaldehyde has been developed. The model is based on the occurrence of two simultaneous processes (condensation polymerization and evaporation of water) and on the concentration dependency of the activation energy of polymerization.
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