A furan functionalized epoxy-amine thermoset with an embedded microcapsule healing system that utilizes reversible Diels-Alder healing chemistry was used to investigate the influence of microcapsule loading on healing efficiency. A urea-formaldehyde encapsulation technique was used to create capsules with an average diameter of 150 µm that were filled with a reactive solution of bismaleimide in phenyl acetate. It was found that optimum healing of the thermoset occurred at 10 wt% microcapsule content for the compositions investigated. The diffusion of solvent through the crack interface and within fractured samples was investigated using analytical diffusion models. The decrease in healing efficiency at higher microcapsule loading was attributed partially to solvent-induced plasticization at the interface. The diffusion analysis also showed that the 10% optimum microcapsule concentration occurs for systems with the same interfacial solvent concentration. This suggests that additional physical and chemical phenomena are also responsible for the observed optimum. Such phenomena could include a reduction in surface area available for healing and the saturation of interfacial furan moieties by reaction with increasing amounts of maleimide. Both would result from increased microcapsule loading.
Santos, S.C.; La Scala, J.J.; Palmese, G.R. Effect of Microcapsule Content on Diels-Alder Room Temperature Self-Healing Thermosets. Polymers 2020, 12, 3064. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12123064
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