Experimental observations of the dynamics of phase behavior for blends of reactive constituents, i.e. diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A (DGEBA), curing agent methylene dianiline (MDA), and a reactive liquid rubber (R45EPI), have been theoretically modeled by coupling system thermodynamics governed by a summation of the free energies of mixing and network elasticity with reaction kinetics and diffusion equations. Snap-shots of the temporal evolution of ternary phase diagrams have been established based on the self-condensation reactions of DGEBA-MDA and R45EPI as well as a cross-reaction between the two constituents forming a copolymer. Numerical solution of the proposed mean-field model provides good qualitative agreement with experimental results, namely, the observance of phase separation followed by a phase dissolution and subsequent secondary segregation in a 50/25.4/50 DGEBA/MDA/R45EPI mixture, as well as a single gradual phase separation in a 70/25.4/30 mixture. The phase separation dynamics are explained by a competition between the growth in molecular weights of the reactive species rendering the systems towards instability, and the formation of copolymer acting to compatibilize the mixtures.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/thein_kyu/70/