Kaolin-Epoxy-Based nanocomposites: A complementary study of the epoxy curing by FTIR and fluorescence

P. D. Castrillo, D. Olmos, J. M. Torkelson, J. González-Benito*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This work is focused on the study of the effect exerted by the presence of kaolin on the cure reaction of an epoxy-based polymer, discussing the influence of different kaolin pretreatments. During the last few years, the interest on polymer matrix nanocomposite materials has sharply increased because generally they show improved properties when compared with those of the neat polymer (without filler). Among this sort of materials, polymer clay nanocomposites have been widely studied. However, there are not many works about kaolin-based composites. Although several techniques have been used to monitor the cure process in epoxy- based composites such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) or differential scanning calorimetry, only the use of the fluorescent response from a fluorophore seems to be adequate to monitor the reaction exactly at the interfaces at a molecular scale. In this work, FTIR and fluorimetry were used to monitor the cure reaction of the different composite systems at different curing temperatures. The analysis of FTIR experiments revealed that the presence of the reinforcement clay affects the extent of the cure reaction depending on the nature of its surface. On the other hand, the use of a fluorescent molecule chemically bonded to the reinforcement allows studying the curing exactly at the interface. Finally, with the collected data, a kinetic analysis was done and the results obtained were compared in terms of the technique used and the information source (interface or bulk). At the interface, the activation energy for the epoxy reaction is lower than that carried out in the bulk indicating that the reaction at the interface proceeds via a particular mechanism for which the reaction is favored. It seems that a higher amount of hydroxyl groups is capable of catalyzing the cure reaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-791
Number of pages11
JournalPolymer Composites
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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