Thermoset droplet curing performance in the microbond test

Bryce, David and Thomason, James L. and Yang, Liu (2024) Thermoset droplet curing performance in the microbond test. Composite Interfaces. pp. 1-22. ISSN 0927-6440 (

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Users of the microbond test assume that a microbond resin droplet’s properties are equivalent to a macroscale specimen. However, there is currently no standardised methodology for determining the cure state of droplet specimens used in the microbond test. In this paper, we present a technique for microbond test users to better understand the properties of thermoset droplet specimens. Utilising a conventional benchtop spectrometer, a novel sample preparation technique involving curing epoxy droplets on thin-steel filaments allowed for high-throughput determination of the microbond droplet cure state. The parity between steel filament and glass fibre microbond samples was confirmed by infrared microspectroscopy. It is shown that cure schedules used in manufacturing composite parts produced microbond droplets with degrees of cure lower than that of bulk matrix specimens subjected to an identical thermal history. Testable microbond droplets could only be prepared for commercial resin systems when introducing a room temperature pre-curing time of at least 2 h. It is concluded that microbond testing should be supported by some droplet cure state characterisation methods to ensure that interfacial effects are not artefacts of droplet sample preparation.