An AFM Study on Nanomechanical Properties of Rubber-Modified Epoxy Resins
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Epoxy resins are often used because of their wide-ranged properties and resulting numerous application possibilities. The properties can easily be modified by adding different additives - e.g. rubber additives are added to modify the toughness of epoxy resins. In the microscopic range a separation between epoxy matrix and rubber occurs. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is an appropriate method for the examina-tion of this separation.
Epoxy resins based on bisphenol A diglycidyl ether and various amounts of nitrile rubber were cured isothermally at 80 °C to complete hardening with diethyltoluene-diamine. Both, the phase morphology and nanomechanical properties were investi-gated with AFM.
The epoxy and the rubber phase can be easily distinguished in AFM phase images. The nitrile rubber forms soft spherical particles in the hard epoxy matrix. The mechanical properties of the two phases were investigated with nanoindentation experiments. Furthermore, the influence of the varying amounts of rubber additive on the toughness of the epoxy resin was quantified.