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Understanding Reaction Induced Phase Separation via Atomistic Simulations

Presented by Dominic Wadkin-Snaith, Ph.D., Strategic Technology Group, Cytec.

Thermoset epoxies are strong and stiff, but are notoriously brittle. Toughness can be realized through blending with certain thermoplastics. However, toughness enhancement without compromise of other properties requires control of the morphology of the blend. The term "Reaction induced phase separation" is used to describe the circumstance where the thermoplastic is initially soluble in the monomers of the epoxy. As the epoxy "cures" to form a network structure through reaction of the monomers, the thermoplastic phase separates. Controlling when and how the phase separation occurs are vital to obtain the desired morphology and properties. Atomistic simulations within Materials Studio are being investigated to determine whether these methods can be applied to predict the phase separation behavior of this class of materials.

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