Magnetic field orientation of liquid crystalline epoxy thermosets
The effect of magnetic fields on the orientation and properties of 4,4′-bis(2,3-epoxypropoxy)-α-methylstilbene cured with sulfanilamide has been studied. This epoxy system is initially isotropic and forms a smectic A phase upon curing. A magnetic field was applied during the cure reaction, resulting in alignment of the molecules along the direction of the applied field. Measurement of the orientation parameter of the fully cured material by wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) showed that orientation improved with an increase in field strength. The orientation parameters of the smectic layer normals calculated from the inner reflection of the WAXS pattern attained a maximum level of approximately 0.8 at a field strength of approximately 12 T. The orientation parameters calculated from the outer reflection of the WAXS pattern were considerably lower, possibly due to the presence of amorphous regions associated with domain boundaries or the loss of molecular alignment within the smectic layers due to topological restrictions of the cross-linking sites. Orientation resulted in an anisotropic linear thermal expansion coefficient after curing, although the overall volumetric expansion was constant. The elastic tensile modulus increased with the square of the orientation parameter, attaining a maximum value of 8.1 GPa, compared to 3.1 GPa for the unoriented material. The change in modulus with orientation could be fit with a simple model for the modulus of anisotropic materials.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Benicewicz, B., Smith, M., Earls, J., Priester, R., Setz, S., Duran, R., & Douglas, E. (1998). Magnetic field orientation of liquid crystalline epoxy thermosets. Macromolecules, 31 (15), 4730-4738. https://doi.org/10.1021/ma980058m