Activation of inert triethylene tetramine-cured epoxy by sub-critical water decomposition

Xianyun Gong, Yuyan Liu*, Mohamed M. Ibrahim, Hongkun Zhang, Mohammed A. Amin, Yong Ma, Ben Bin Xu*, Hassan Algadi, Priyanka Wasnik, Zeinhom M. El-Bahy, Zhanhu Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Cured epoxy is stable and difficult to be recycled. To make the inert cured epoxy and its derivatives or composites reactive is still a challenge. In this study, sub-critical water was used to decompose the solid diglycidyl ether-based epoxy resin (bisphenol A and bisphenol F) cured with triethylene tetramine (TETA) to reactive species. First of all, the thermally most unstable bonds in the epoxy resin underwent homogeneous cleavage reaction. Next, the generated free radicals were saturated by extracting hydrogen from the sub-critical water. The decomposition rate was improved with increasing the temperature and reaction time. During the reaction, breakage occurs preferentially in the epoxy resin main chain because of the existence of ether groups. The compounds evolved and the decomposition was analyzed. The experimental outcomes revealed that the decomposition mechanism of diglycidylether of bisphenol A (DGEBA)/TETA and diglycidylether of bisphenol F (DGEBF)/TETA resin regimes in sub-critical water may include side group elimination, random fracture and unzipping. Moreover, a segmented second-order kinetic analysis of the decomposition process was performed. The decomposition processes of two resins in sub-critical water were divided into two stages. Both stages were second-order reaction, the activation energy of DGEBA/TETA was 175 kJ/mol (Ea1(15-45min)), and 612 kJ/mol (Ea2(52.5-75min)). The activation energy of DGEBF/TETA was 258 kJ/mol (Ea1(15-45min)), and 686 kJ/mol (Ea2(52.5-75min)), respectively. This study provides a way for recycling inert epoxy wastes from different industrial fields and generating reactive and functional polymers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105746
Number of pages13
JournalReactive and Functional Polymers
Early online date19 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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