The Degradation and Stabilisation of Epoxide Resins to Ultraviolet Radiation

  • Michael J. Doyle

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis was an investigation of the chemical and physical
changes which occurred on exposure of two epoxide resins, one amine
and the other anhydride cured, to ultraviolet light.

The method of study was by investigation of the changes in both
cured resins and the monomers from which they were synthesised. Also,
because of the intractable nature of the cured structures, the degradation
of a number of model compounds which were structurally similar
to the cured systems were investigated.

The results showed that the monomer itself was susceptible to
the radiation used. Monomer purity decreased the rate but it did
not eliminate the degradation process. From quantum yields studied,
the initiation was found to result in a non-chain reaction. The extent
of degradation was proportional to the intensity of the light used.
No "dark" chemical reactions were observed to occur with any of the
compounds studied, although "dark" physical reactions by diffusion
of degradation products did occur in the cured structures.

The wavelengths of light causing maximum degradation were contained
in the short wavelength region of the lamp. In the anhydride
cured resins the 365 nm band was also found to contribute to the overall
degradation process.

The photo-oxidative degradation resulted in the formation of an
oxidised surface layer of material from crosslinking reactions involving
atmospheric oxygen. Volatile compounds were evolved during
irradiation and their rate of concentration change confirmed the
surface layer theory, as did measurement of the torsion modulus of
the cured systems.

Complete stabilisation of the materials with existing stabilisers,
and new synergistic mixtures failed. However it was possible to
decrease the rate of degradation in both the amine and anhydride
cured polymers.
Date of Award1972
Original languageEnglish


  • degradation
  • stabilisation
  • epoxide resins
  • ultraviolet radiation

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