Polymer, Vol.172, 322-329, 2019
Direct insight into the kinetics of the high-pressure step-growth polymerization of DGEBA/aniline model system
In this paper, the high-pressure calorimetry was used to monitor the heat of the polymerization of bisphenol-A diglycidyl ether (DGEBA) mixed with a stoichiometric amount of aniline over a wide range of pressure (p = 0.1-350 MPa at T = 298.15 K). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first high-pressure calorimetric study of the reaction kinetics of the epoxy resin curing processes. The collected novel experimental data were analysed with two models: the original Kamal and its modified version taking into account the real monomer conversion, which provides insight into the progress of two subsequent non-catalyzed and catalyzed reactions occurring during the step growth polymerization. It was found that the determined rate constants are sensitive to pressure and model dependent, resulting in different activation volumes, which fall within the range from - 16 cm(3)/mol to - 26 cm(3)/mol. Interestingly, these values are similar to those reported for the epoxide ring-opening polymerization reaction, which changes in the range between -15 cm(3)/mol to - 20 cm(3)/mol. In addition, the analysis of the high-pressure data revealed that the original Kamal model fails to describe kinetic curves obtained for the polymerization reaction, where the monomer conversion is far below 100%. Interestingly, such effects are considered to be due to the change in the mechanism of the reaction from mass to the diffusion-controlled regime. Here, we explicitly have shown that it has nothing to do with this phenomenon since after considering solely the real monomer conversion in the Kamal model fits, quality has been significantly improved. As a consequence, estimated rate constants are more reliable. Results presented herein clearly indicated that high-pressure experiments provide a new perspective to understand the progress of the classical reactions, as step-growth polymerization that has mainly been studied as a function of the chemical composition and temperature.