Moisture effect on interfacial integrity of epoxy-bonded system : A hierarchical approach

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number024001
Journal / PublicationNanotechnology
Issue number2
Online published12 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


The epoxy-bonded system has been widely used in various applications across different scale lengths. Prior investigations have indicated that the moisture-affected interfacial debonding is the major failure mode of such a system, but the fundamental mechanism remains unknown, such as the basis for the invasion of water molecules in the cross-linked epoxy and the epoxy-bonded interface. This prevents us from predicting the long-term performance of the epoxy-related applications under the effect of the moisture. Here, we use full atomistic models to investigate the response of the epoxy-bonded system towards the adhesion test, and provide a detailed analysis of the interfacial integrity under the moisture effect and the associated debonding mechanism. Molecular dynamics simulations show that water molecules affect the hierarchical structure of the epoxy-bonded system at the nanoscale by disrupting the film-substrate interaction and the molecular interaction within the epoxy, which leads to the detachment of the epoxy thin film, and the final interfacial debonding. The simulation results show good agreement with the experimental results of the epoxy-bonded system. Through identifying the relationship between the epoxy structure and the debonding mechanism at multiple scales, it is shown that the hierarchical structure of the epoxy-bonded system is crucial for the interfacial integrity. In particular, the available space of the epoxy-bonded system, which consists of various sizes ranging from the atomistic scale to the macroscale and is close to the interface facilitates the moisture accumulation, leading to a distinct interfacial debonding when compared to the dry scenario.

Research Area(s)

  • adhesion, interface, moisture, molecular dynamics simulation