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Shear induced structuration of liquid crystalline epoxy thermosets

Abstract : Low-molecular weight liquid crystals (LC) have wide technological applications due to their self-assembly in the mesophase. An azomethine nematic monomer based on diglycidyl functionalized mesogenic core and without spacers has been cured with a diamine. The great affinity of LC epoxy to the formation of ordered structures introduces a spatial driving force into the process of curing. Thermal and LC behaviors were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized optical microscopy (POM). The nature of the LC phases was confirmed by X-ray diffraction. Rheological experiments were conducted during crosslinking at different shear stresses. The viscosity of the mixture is strongly decreasing by three orders of magnitude when the solid epoxy is melting into a LC phase, and is increasing again due to the curing. Unexpected results were found. Applying a stress during curing had a profound influence on the ordering of the structure. The material becomes isotropic if a small shear stress is applied. Then, the higher the stress is, more ordered the final material is. For the highest stresses, the final material is in a highly ordered, quasi-crystalline, smectic structure.
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Alice Mija, Patrick Navard, Christian Peiti, Dan Babor, Nathanael Guigo. Shear induced structuration of liquid crystalline epoxy thermosets. European Polymer Journal, Elsevier, 2010, 46 (6), pp.Pages 1380-1387. ⟨10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2010.04.001⟩. ⟨hal-00509553⟩

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