Cure kinetics of liquid crystalline epoxy resins based on biphenyl mesogen
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The cure kinetics of a biphenyl-based liquid crystalline (LC) epoxy resin (LCER) was studied using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized optical microscopy. The effects of LC phase formation on the cure kinetics were investigated. Both a model-free isoconversional method and a model-fitting method were used to analyze the DSC data. Results from the isoconversional analysis were applied to develop tentative multi-step kinetic models describing the curing reaction. Kinetic analysis showed that compared to the resins cured in amorphous phase, LCERs exhibited higher values of reaction enthalpy and a complex dependence of activation energy on the degree of cure. The formation of the LC phase resulted in a decrease in activation energy, leading to higher degree of reaction.