Macromolecules, Vol.53, No.10, 4082-4089, 2020
Interfacial Cross-Link Inhomogeneity of a Phenolic Resin on a Silica Surface As Revealed by X-ray and Neutron Reflection Measurements
The interfacial structure of a hexamethylenetetramine-cured phenolic resin on a silica surface was investigated by the complementary use of X-ray and neutron reflectivity (XRR and NR, respectively). The contrast-variation technique was applied using D2O for the NR analysis in which the coherent neutron scattering length density (SLD) largely changed owing to the D2O absorption of the dry phenolic resin and the hydrogen-to-deuterium exchange of phenolic hydroxyl groups. The XRR profile indicated no clear interfacial structure in terms of the mass density, whereas the NR profile indicated the presence of an interfacial nanolayer on the native silica surface according to the SLD. The thickness of the interfacial layer was 1-2 nm, which was independent of the thickness of the bulk resin layer. The formation of the interfacial layer on the silica surface could be caused by preferential adsorption of the novolac resin on the silica surface via strong hydrogen bonding between phenolic units in the novolac resin and silica surface comprising silanol and silyl ether groups resulting in interfacial cross-link inhomogeneity of the phenolic resin on the silica surface in the thickness direction. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of an experimental elucidation of the buried interfacial structure between the phenolic resins on the silica surface at a nanometer level.