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Toughening of cyanate ester resin by N-phenylmaleimide–N-(p-hydroxy)phenyl-maleimide–styrene terpolymers and their hybrid modifiers

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N-Phenylmaleimide–N-(p-hydroxy)phenylmaleimide– ;styrene terpolymer (HPMS), carrying reactive p-hydroxyphenyl groups, was prepared and used to improve the toughness of cyanate ester resins. Hybrid modifiers composed of N-phenylmaleimide–styrene copolymer (PMS) and HPMS were also examined for further improvement in toughness. Balanced properties of the modified resins were obtained by using the hybrid modifiers. The morphology of the modified resins depends on HPMS structure, molecular weight and content, and hybrid modifier compositions. The most effective modification of the cyanate ester resin was attained because of the co-continuous phase structure of the modified resin. Inclusion of the modifier composed of 10 wt% PMS (Mw 136 000 g mol-1) and 2.5 wt% HPMS (hydroxyphenyl unit 3 mol%, Mw 15 500 g mol-1) led to 135% increase in the fracture toughness (KIC) for the modified resin with a slight loss of flexural strength and retention of flexural modulus and glass transition temperature, compared with the values for the unmodified resin. Furthermore, the effect of the curing conditions on the mechanical and thermal properties of the modified resins was examined. The toughening mechanism is discussed in terms of the morphological and dynamic viscoelastic behaviour of the modified cyanate ester resin system.

© 2001 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: N-Phenylmaleimide–N-(p-hydroxy)phenylmaleimide–styrene terpolymer; N-phenylmaleimide–styrene copolymer; cyanate ester resin; fracture toughness; hybrid modifier; morphology

Document Type: Research Article


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Publication date: March 1, 2001

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