Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Vol.32, No.9, 1607-1616, 1994
Crystallization and Thermoreversible Gelation of Poly(Butylene Terephthalate) Epoxy Mixtures
The thermoreversible gelation of solutions of poly (butylene terephthalate) (PBT) and a liquid diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A epoxy has been investigated. The morphology of the gels and the conditions under which they form have been characterized by optical microscopy, thermal analysis, and x-ray scattering. Gels were found to form under two different conditions and with different morphologies. Gels formed after a considerable delay when homogenous PBT-epoxy solutions were cooled to slightly below the dissolution temperature of crystalline PBT. These gels contained large, irregular PBT spherulites and smaller birefringent interspherulitic matter. The melting of these gels and the onset of macroscopic flow coincided with the melting of the interspherulitic matter, and occurred before the melting of the large spherulites. Thermoreversible gels formed very quickly when PBT-epoxy solutions were self-nucleated by heating a dispersion of crystalline PBT in epoxy slightly and briefly above the dissolution temperature and then cooling. These gels displayed only a weak background birefringence and were molten when the weak birefringence disappeared. In both cases, gelation occurred by the formation of a three-dimensional PBT network in the epoxy liquid, and the nodes of the network were crystalline PBT particles.