Preparation and characterization of imidazole–metal complexes and evaluation of cured epoxy networks
A series of copper complexes of epoxy-imidazole adducts have been prepared and characterized by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was employed to investigate the thermal behaviour of the curing agents and to investigate the medium-term storage stability of a one-pot composition of a commercial epoxy resin when mixed with the complexes. The cure onset temperatures of the mixtures containing copper complexes are ca. 20–50 °C higher than those of the parent epoxy-imidazole adducts and the decrease of cure onset temperatures in the early stages of storage (up to 100 h) is less. The latent nature and improved storage stability of mixtures containing the copper complex were clearly demonstrated and confirmed by the viscosity behaviour of the catalysed mixtures of the commercial epoxy resins MY720 and MY750. 1H NMR and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy were employed to monitor the thermal decomposition of the copper(II) complexes, which were found to decompose at 120–130 °C and exist in equilibrium. Glass fibre-reinforced composite samples were prepared using a commercial epoxy resin cured with the complexes and their physico-mechanical properties were evaluated.