Permanent antistatic phthalocyanine/epoxy nanocomposites – Influence of crosslinking agent, solvent and processing temperature

M. Yuan, J.C.M. Brokken-Zijp, G. With, de

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Cross-linked epoxy matrices containing small amounts of semi-conductive phthalocyanine (Phthalcon) nanoparticles were prepared using different crosslinking agents and processing temperatures. A starting mixture containing an optimum dispersion of these nanoparticles and with an almost equal and large Hamaker constant was always used. Nevertheless large differences in the relation between the volume conductivity rv and the particle concentration u were found and this relation appeared to be sensitive to small changes in processing temperature and the application of a post-cure. Also the amine crosslinker chosen and the initial amount of solvent (catalyst) in the starting dispersion had a major effect. It was shown that these changes influence strongly the formation of and the final conductive fractal particle network morphology through the polymer matrix. During processing a local relaxation of the initially formed fractal particle network into another fractal particle network was often observed, which introduced or enlarged the amount of isolating material between the particles of the conductive network and changed the fractality and structure of the conductive backbone of the particle network. This local relaxation lowered the rv at each phthalcon concentration and enlarged uc by several orders of magnitude. The occurrence of local relaxation is dependent on the rate of viscosity change during the crosslinking of the polymer matrix components, the way the fractal conductive particle network is formed during processing (universal or non-universal) and the amount of solvent present. Local relaxation may even occur after the gel point of the polymer matrix. A severe postcure may be needed to stop this local relaxation. To our knowledge local relaxation of a (fractal) nanoparticle network in a polymer matrix during processing is a new phenomenon, not reported before for polymer composites containing (conductive) nanoparticles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-880
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Polymer Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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