Thermochimica Acta, Vol.616, 100-109, 2015
Microwave and thermal curing of an epoxy resin for microelectronic applications
Microwave curing of thermosetting polymers has a number of advantages to natural or thermal oven curing and is considered a cost-effective alternative. Here we present a detailed study of a commercially available epoxy resin, EO1080. Samples that are thermally cured are compared to curing using a recently developed modular microwave processing system. For commercial purposes it is crucial to demonstrate that microwave curing does not adversely affect the thermal and chemical properties of the material. Therefore, the kinetics of cure and various post cure properties of the resin are investigated. Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier-Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) analysis shows no significant difference between the conventionally and microwave cured samples. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) is used to monitor the kinetics of the curing reaction, as well as determine the thermal and ageing properties of the material. As expected, the rate of curing is higher when using microwave energy and we attempt to quantify differences compared to conventional thermal curing. No change in glass transition temperature (T-g) is observed. For the first time, enthalpy relaxation measurements performed on conventional and microwave cured samples are reported and these indicate similar ageing properties at any given temperature under T-g. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.