A systematic evaluation of chemical, physical, and mechanical properties of an epoxy resin system for validation and refinement of atomistic simulations

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Materials Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Advisor: Donald A. Klosterman


Despite numerous studies on thermoset resin systems, understanding of the influence of chemical network structure on mechanical properties is still premature. Recently multiscale simulations combining quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics have provided an unprecedented pathway for property prediction for a wide range of polymeric systems. Experimental guidance, validation, and refinement of these models are currently in high demand; therefore, this study focused on systematic experimentation to fabricate an epoxy resin system with known chemical structure and controlled processing conditions with spectroscopic characterization of the products for insight on the resultant chemical network structure. Finally, detailed thermomechanical and fracture mechanics studies were conducted to connect the chemistry with the processing and the mechanics. Atomistic simulations were performed in parallel on similar material systems. Key findings of this study include molecular conversion using IR spectroscopy and its relationship with glass transition temperature and fracture toughness, the illustration of etherification of epoxy resins during curing, and the influence of molecular weight on reactivity with the crosslinking agent. All of these experimental findings are significant assets for parameterization of on-going multiscale models and essential stepping-stones for improving the fidelity of these models and implementing these tools for property prediction.


Epoxy resins Mechanical properties, Chemical structure, Epoxy resins Properties, Materials Science, epoxy, atomistic, ftir, dma, mechanical properties, chemical network

Rights Statement

Copyright 2016, author