Structure within thin epoxy films revealed by solvent swelling: A neutron reflectivity study

H. Yim, M. Kent, W. F. McNamara, R. Ivkov, S. Satija, J. Majewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Structure within thin epoxy films is investigated by neutron reflectivity (NR) as a function of resin/cross-linker composition and cure temperature. Variation in the cross-link density normal to the substrate surface is examined by swelling the films with the good solvent d-nitrobenzene (d-NB). The principal observation is a large excess of d-NB near the air surface. This is not a wetting layer, but rather indicates a lower cross-link density in the near-surface region. This effect is due to preferential segregation of the cross-linker to the air surface, driven by the lower surface tension of the cross-linker relative to the epoxide oligomers. The magnitude of the effect is a function of composition and cure temperature. Exclusion of d-NB from the region immediately adjacent to the substrate surface is also observed, possibly indicating a tightly bound layer of epoxy. Regarding swelling in the bulk of the films, the behavior is nonsymmetric with departure from the stoichiometric ratio. The films deficient in curing agent show greater equilibrium swelling and faster swelling kinetics than the films with an excess of curing agent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7932-7938
Number of pages7
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 16 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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