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Drastically improves brittleness and toughness of epoxy resins

November 30, 2016

1 Min Read
DIC develops cellulose nanofiber-reinforced epoxy composite masterbatch

Japan’s DIC has developed a masterbatch called Epiclon NCM consisting of 10 wt% cellulose nanofiber (CNF) dispersed in an epoxy carrier. Addition of the masterbatch to epoxy resin reportedly improves the traditional disadvantages of epoxy resins, namely their brittleness and lack of toughness.

Cellulose nanofiber masterbatch prevents crack propagation in epoxy thermoset composites.

Earlier this year, the company commenced sample shipments of Epiclon NCM to processors in Japan. The product is slated for commercial introduction in 2020.

CNFs are mechanically extracted from plant-derived cellulosic fiber through untangling and measure several nanometers in diameter and 5 μm in length. The have one-fifth the specific gravity of steel, and are weight for weight five times stronger. Their thermal expansion is equivalent to that of quartz glass and they boast double the elastic modulus of glass fiber.

On the other hand, CNFs are hydrophilic and possess high moisture contents. Removing this moisture and uniformly dispersing CNFs throughout hydrophobic resins is extremely difficult, meaning progress in commercialization and application development was difficult to advance. DIC claims that it has solved these issues through a proprietary method with its new masterbatch product. Use of the masterbatch is said to inhibit crack propagation in epoxy resins employed in electrical and construction applications.

DIC is looking at applying the masterbatch in automotive applications, where it would be added to carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) to improve toughness.

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