Use of Eco-Friendly Epoxy Resins From Renewable Resources as Potential Substitutes of Petrochemical Epoxy Resins for Ambient Cured Composites With Flax Reinforcements

Autores UPV


In the last years, some high renewable content epoxy resins, derived from vegetable oils, have been developed at industrial level and are now commercially available; these can compete with petroleum-based resins as thermoset matrices for composite materials. Nevertheless, due to the relatively high cost in comparison to petroleum-based resins, their use is still restricted to applications with relatively low volume consumption such as model making, tuning components, nautical parts, special effects, outdoor sculptures, etc. in which, the use of composite laminates with carbon, aramid and, mainly, glass fibers is generalized by using hand layup and vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) techniques due to low manufacturing costs and easy implementation. In this work, we study the behavior of two high renewable content epoxy resins derived from vegetable oils as potential substitutes of petroleum-based epoxies in composite laminates with flax reinforcements by using the VARTM technique. The curing behavior of the different epoxy resins is compared in terms of the gel point and exothermicity profile by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). In addition, overall performance of flax-epoxy composites is compared with standardized mechanical (tensile, flexural and impact) and thermal (Vicat softening temperature, heat deflection temperature, thermo-mechanical analysis) tests. The curing DSC profiles of the two eco-friendly epoxy resins are similar to a conventional epoxy resin. They can be easily handled and processed by conventional VARTM process thus leading to composite laminates with flax with balanced mechanical and thermal properties, similar or even higher to a multipurpose epoxy resin. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers.