The technique of ultramicrotomy of polymers, followed by staining of the resulting thin sections with heavy metal ions and viewing with Z enhancement in the scanning transmission electron microscope is described. When applied to anhydride-cured epoxy resins, the structure is found to be heterogeneously crosslinked on a scale of a few hundred angstrom. When the technique is applied to amine-cured epoxy resins, the microstructure is found to change from homogeneous to inhomogeneously crosslinked, depending on stoichiometries and cure cycles. For amine-cured resins whose cure conditions are within the range of microstructural change, the bright field of the stained specimens alone does not detect heterogeneities, and the Z contrast becomes crucial to discern the kind of microstructure. A commercial polyimide film examined in the same way is found to exhibit systematic variations in structure through the thickness of the film.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Journal of Applied Polymer Science|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 5 1988|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Polymers and Plastics