Influence of treating parameters on thermomechanical properties of recycled epoxy-acid vitrimers†
Vitrimers have the characteristics of shape-reforming and surface-welding, and have the same excellent mechanical properties as thermosets; so vitrimers hold the promise of a broad alternative to traditional plastics. Since their initial introduction in 2011, vitrimers have been applied to many unique applications such as reworkable composites and liquid crystal elastomer actuators. A series of experiments have investigated the effects of reprocessing conditions (such as temperature, time, and pressure) on recycled materials. However, the effect of particle size on the mechanical properties of recycled materials has not been reported. In this paper, we conducted an experimental study on the recovery of epoxy-acid vitrimers of different particle sizes. Epoxy-acid vitrimer powders with different particle size distributions were prepared and characterized. The effects of particle size on the mechanical properties of regenerated epoxy-acid vitrimers were investigated by dynamic mechanical analysis and uniaxial tensile tests. In addition, other processing parameters such as temperature, time, and pressure are discussed, as well as their interaction with particle size. This study helped to refine the vitrimer reprocessing condition parameter toolbox, providing experimental support for the easy and reliable control of the kinetics of the bond exchange reaction.