Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

First Advisor

Alec B. Scranton

Second Advisor

Julie L.P. Jessop


Cationic photopolymerization of multifunctional epoxides is very useful for efficient cure at room temperature and has been widely used in coatings and adhesives. Despite excellent properties of the final cured polymers, cationic photopolymerizations of epoxides have seen limited application due to slow reactions (relative to acrylates) and brittleness associated with a highly crosslinked, rigid network. To address these issues, two reaction systems were studied in this thesis: photoinitiated cationic copolymerizations of a cycloaliphatic diepoxide with epoxidized elastomers and acrylate/epoxide hybrid photopolymerizations. Oligomer/monomer structures, viscosity, compositions, and photoinitiator system were hypothesized to play important roles in controlling photopolymerizations of the epoxide-based mixtures. A fundamental understanding of the interplay between these variables for the chosen systems will provide comprehensive guidelines for the future development of photopolymerization systems comparable to the epoxide-based mixtures in this research.

For diepoxide/oligomer mixtures, the observed overall enhancement in polymerization rate and ultimate conversion of the cycloaliphatic diepoxide was attributed to the activated monomer mechanism associated with hydroxyl terminal groups in the epoxidized oligomers. This enhancement increased with increasing oligomer content. The mixture viscosity influenced the initial reactivity of the diepoxide for oligomer content above 50 wt.%. Real-time consumption of internal epoxides in the oligomers was successfully determined using Raman spectroscopy. Initial reactivity and ultimate conversion of the internal epoxides decreased with increasing the diepoxide content. This trend was more pronounced for the oligomer containing low internal epoxide content. These results indicate that the reactivity of the hydroxyl groups is higher toward cationic active centers of the diepoxide than those of the internal epoxides in the oligomers. These conclusions are consistent with physical property results. The enhanced fracture toughness and impact resistance were attributed to multimodal network chain-length distribution of copolymers containing the oligomer content between 70% and 80%.

For acrylate/epoxide hybrid mixtures, diacrylate oligomers significantly suppressed reactivities of cycloaliphatic mono/diepoxides, which was attributed to high mixture viscosity and highly crosslinked acrylate network. In this case, the dual photoinitiator system did not favor the epoxide reaction. Depending on the monovinyl acrylate secondary functionalities, enhanced reactivity and ultimate conversion of the diepoxide were attributed to a combined effect of a reduced viscosity and the radical-promoted cationic polymerization associated with the dual photoinitiator. The retarded and inhibited diepoxide reactivities with ether and urethane secondary groups were attributed to solvation and nucleophilicity/basicity effects, respectively. The influence of the diepoxide on the acrylate reactivity was attributed to dilution and polarity effects. In this case, high concentration of the free-radical photoinitiator is required for the dual photoinitiator system. Physical properties of hybrid polymers also varied with acrylate structures and monomer composition. Dynamic modulation methods were proposed to enhance the diepoxide reactivity and final properties in the presence of urethane acrylates.


Acrylate/epoxide hybrid photopolymerization, Cationic photopolymerization, Epoxidized polybutadiene oligomer, Free-radical photopolymerization, Interpenetraing network structure, Photoinitiated cationic copolymerization


xvi, 246 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 228-246).


Copyright 2011 HOSEOP EOM