Preparation and characterization of sizable macroporous epoxy resin-based monolithic supports for flow-through systems.
ABSTRACT This paper presents further results from our efforts to prepare sizable macroporous monolithic materials from epoxy resins and polyamines by emulsion polymerization. For their uses as supports in flow systems, the study aimed at developing materials possessing maximum fluid permeability, high mechanical stability, and a controlled porosity and surface area. Characterization of the materials has been carried out using different techniques, focusing on morphological and mechanical features, and on the surface chemistry. Morphology and porosity were studied with SEM, nitrogen adsorption/desorption, mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP), and (2)H NMR cryoporosimetry. The chemical composition of the bulk structures and their surfaces was studied by means of bulk elemental analysis and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and potentiometric titration was used to assess the relative amounts of amines and epoxy groups. Essentially, the morphological features were a high fluid permeability, but rather low specific surface area. Convective flow was facilitated by large, interconnected, and evenly spaced macropores which were formed by nonporous skeletons of the connected-rod type. Despite the interfacial nature of the polymerization, the bulk and the surface of the fully cured materials showed similar elemental compositions. All materials were found to have a high surface density of hydroxyl groups, which facilitates functionalization reactions.