Investigation of Readily Processable Thermoplastic-Toughened Thermosets: IV. BMIs Toughened with Hyperbranched Polyester

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Department of Chemistry


This is the fourth article in a series describing efforts to produce tough, high-performance thermosets from very low viscosity prepolymers which are autoclave processable. Hydroxy-terminated hyperbranched polyester (HBP) with a systematically increased molar mass was used to toughen bismaleimide (BMI). HBP was dissolved in the allyl phenol component, B, of a two-part BMI, to yield homogeneous solutions. The BMI monomer, A, was dissolved in the solution of HBP in B to give homogeneous prepolymers. The fracture toughness (KIc) of neat resin plaques was measured by compact tension, while the Tg and storage moduli (E′, at 55 and 200°C) were determined by DMA. At 9% loading, the KIc of the BMI increased steadily with HBP molecular weight up to 138% over the control with G5 HBP (Mn ∼ 14,000 g/mol); however, significant decreases in both the Tg and E′ resulted, indicating incomplete phase separation of the thermoplastic. A linear hydroxy-terminated polyester (Mn ∼ 5400 g/mol) with a repeat unit structure which was similar to the HBP's was prepared and used as a control. The linear polyester (LPE) toughened the BMI nearly as effectively as did the HBP and caused a smaller decrease in the Tg and E′. The viscosity of solutions of HBP and LPE in B were essentially the same at lower loadings in B, but at higher loadings, the HBP viscosity increased faster than did that of the LPE. The viscosity increase was end group-dependent. Preliminary morphological results are presented to show the effect of the thermoplastic architecture, loading, and end group on the cured thermoset.

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science