Correlation between nodular morphology and fracture properties of cured epoxy resins

Jovan Mijović, J. A. Koutsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Various bulk epoxy resin formulations, based on diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA) and cured with diethylene triamine (DETA) were studied. Methods of linear elastic fracture mechanics were employed and all systems were characterized by the corresponding values of the critical strain energy release rate for crack initiation and crack arrest. Fracture morphology was studied by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy of carbon-platinum surface replicas. An apparent correlation between morphology and ultimate mechanical properties has been found. All fracture surfaces are shown to be characterized by distinct nodular morphology. Nodules, ranging in size from 15-45 nm, represent the sites of higher crosslink density in an inhomogeneous network structure. Fracture surfaces were further characterized by three crack propagation zones. A smooth, brittle fracture zone was preceded and followed by crack initiation and crack arrest zones, respectively. An apparent plastic flow was confined to the initiation and arrest regions. No crazing phenomenon was seen in the initiation zone; instead a step-like fracture was observed, typified by the 'flow' of internodular matrix during step formation. Local plastic deformation in the initiation zone and the corresponding value of critical strain energy release rate, GIc, were correlated with the nodular morphology. The size of nodules was found to vary with the curing agent concentration, thus allowing us to establish a fundamental correlation between the nodular morphology and the ultimate mechanical properties of epoxy resins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1107
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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