Coatings binders: Polyester polyols improve strength of amorphous epoxy networks

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Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM have investigated the structure-property relationship of polyester polyols in cationically polymerised, amorphous epoxy-based copolymers.
An epoxy resin is polymerised in the presence of structurally different polyesters. These resulting copolymers show improved tensile strength and toughness. The optimal epoxide/polyester ratio depends on the structure of the polyesters. Poly(δ-valerolactone) (PVL) reveals the highest ester group density of the investigated polyesters, which enhances physical interactions with the epoxide during polymerisation as well as in the network. Furthermore, PVL leads to outstanding tensile strength, strain at break, and toughness.

PVL leads to the highest gel fraction

Among all polyester polyols examined, PVL leads to the highest gel fraction or, in other words, the most complete integration into the epoxy network. This work shows that polyesters that are present in the reactive system should be covalently integrated into the polymer network as completely as possible to obtain good mechanical properties of the amorphous copolymer.
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