Physical Aging and Characterization of Engineering Thermoplastics and Thermoplastic Modified Epoxies

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Virginia Tech

In this work the relationship between physical properties, such as physical aging and relaxation time distributions, and chemical structure for a variety of polymeric systems were investigated. Although there is a vast amount of physical aging data for polymers, most of these studies do not attempt to correlate structure with physical aging. Therefore, a set of engineering thermoplastics was examined with the goal of relating certain of their characteristic molecular dimensions to their mechanical and volumetric physical aging attributes.Another series of polymeric materials, based on a poly(ether sulfone) backbone, and having various endgroups differing in size, was also studied to determine physical aging rates and relaxation time distributions. Furthermore, it was concluded that the density of the poly(ether sulfones) increased while the glass transition temperature decreased as the endgroup became smaller.Thermoplastic toughened epoxies were also examined to clarify the importance of covalent bonds between toughener and epoxy on physical aging, relaxation time distributions and fracture toughness. In these studies the covalently bonded tougheners differed from their non-reactive counterparts in the rates of volumetric physical aging at high temperatures for the difunctional epoxy. The solvent resistance of the reactive thermoplastic toughened tetrafunctional epoxy was higher than the non-reactive thermoplastic toughened system. The tetrafunctional epoxies with the reactive toughener also had higher toughener glass transition temperatures.

polymers, dilute solution, physical aging, relaxation time distribution