What is it about?
A single material combining the unique properties of stable radical moieties with the versatility of the epoxy polymer is presented. In this combined material, intrinsic electronic conduction is enabled into the non-conjugated and amorphous epoxy thermoset which is fundamentally different form what is happening in materials with metals, metal-organics, or conjugated polymers. To produce such a material, the classical epoxy-amine reaction was employed to ensure that only a highly cross-linked network with a rigid topology is formed. This design is a departure from other stable organic radical polymers with flexible backbones. The hole mobility of the novel epoxy thermoset is quantified to be in the regime of traditional semiconductors. This demonstrates that through this design epoxy systems are able to conduct electrical current by its own, thus expanding the applications of epoxies in frontier technologies. In the scientific literature, the synthesis of stable radical compounds using the direct approach is scarce. Herein, to obtain the novel radical epoxy monomer, a very mature yet simple amino-epoxide chemistry is employed to prepare the unique monomer using the direct approach. EPR spectroscopy reveals that the radical centre remained stable even after modification of the precursor and during subsequent polymerisation with amine hardeners.
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Why is it important?
Consequently, this effort offers a change in thinking on how electronic conduction in open shell polymers operates especially on a rigid backbone and paves for a reassessment of the traditional epoxy polymer as enduring materials for frontier applications.
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This page is a summary of: Macroradical enables electrical conduction in epoxy thermoset, Polymer, July 2021, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2021.124046.
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