Time-intensity transformation and internal stress in UV-curable hyperbranched acrylates
The photocuring of three different highly functional acrylates—Di-pentaerythritol penta/hexaacrylate (DPHA) and two hyperbranched molecules (HBP), one with a stiff polyester and one with a more flexible polyether structure—was investigated by means of photorheology, photo differential scanning calorimetry, and beam bending. Special attention was paid to the influence of the composition of DPHA/HBP reactive blends and UV intensity on gelation and vitrification and the resulting dynamics of the internal stress. It was found that adding HBPs to DPHA did not influence gelation significantly, but shifted the onset of vitrification to higher conversions and thus caused lower internal stresses in the material. Increasing UV intensity increased both the conversion at vitrification, thus retarding the build-up of internal stresses, and the ultimate conversion, thus increasing the final stress level. The obtained conversion, gelation, and vitrification data were assembled into time-intensity transformation diagrams, thus providing a useful tool for optimizing photocuring.