Document Type



Master of Science


Materials Science and Engineering

First Adviser

Pearson, Raymond A.


Particle-toughened crosslinked epoxies are popular materials for a variety of applications, including the microelectronics industry. For this application, the properties of these materials, such as a high fracture toughness and a low coefficient of thermal expansion, are highly appealing. In order to achieve these properties, inorganic particles are often added into the matrix. For this study, both inorganic and organic particles-toughened epoxies are investigated in the hopes of finding an optimized system.In particular, in this study, micron-sized silica and nano-sized rubbery block copolymers are added to an amine-cured epoxy matrix. A series of rubber-only and silica-only systems are investigated for their contribution to the fracture toughness. Then, a series of hybrid systems are investigated.The hypothesis is that the rubber will contribute toughness through rubber particle cavitation and matrix void growth and the silica will contribute toughness through crack pinning and bridging and particle debonding. In the hybrid systems, these mechanisms will take place at a different scale. Therefore, the nanoscale mechanisms of the rubber will be able to function at the same time as the micron sized mechanisms of the silica and the resultant toughness will be synergistically higher.The results from this study show an interesting contribution from the rubber particles both in the rubber-only systems and the hybrid system. Ultimately, there was a marked increase in the fracture toughness of the hybrid systems, although not synergistic. This increase indicates that it would be possible to create an optimized hybrid system from the combined addition of these particles.