Role of localized network damage in block copolymer toughened epoxies

Carmelo Declet-Perez, Erica M. Redline, Lorraine F. Francis, Frank S. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The underlying mechanisms responsible for the toughening of block copolymer modified thermoset epoxies are not completely understood. A current theory targets cavitation of the rubbery cores in dispersed micelles as the key event that triggers shear yielding, resulting in enhanced toughness. To evaluate this hypothesis, we prepared spherical micelle forming block copolymers with rubbery cores (prone to cavitation) and glassy cores (unable to cavitate). Surprisingly, both systems enhance fracture toughness, although the rubbery core micelles outperform the glassy core counterparts. This finding challenges previous deductions regarding the toughening mechanism. We propose that the mechanical integrity of the region immediately surrounding the micelle core is compromised by the presence of the corona blocks, facilitating local deformation of the matrix. We speculate that the compliant nature of the rubber amplifies this effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-342
Number of pages5
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2012


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