The Interaction of Waterborne Epoxy/Dicyandiamide Varnishes with Metal Oxides
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For delayed crosslinking of waterborne epoxy varnishes, dicyandiamide (DICY) is often used as a latent curing agent. While, for amine-based curing agents such as diaminoethane (DAE), chemical interactions with metal oxides are well described, so far, no studies have been performed for DICY and waterborne epoxy varnishes. Hence, in this work X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) was used to investigate reactions of DICY and varnishes with technical surfaces of Al, Zn, and Sn. To directly study the reaction of DICY with metal oxides, immersion tests in a boiling solution of DICY in pure water were performed. A clear indication of the formation of metal–organic complexes was deduced from the change in the N1s peak of DICY. To understand the interfacial interaction and consequently the interphase formation during coating of waterborne epoxy varnishes, advanced cryo ultra-low-angle microtomy (cryo-ULAM) was implemented. Interestingly, a comparable reaction mechanism and the formation of metal complexes were confirmed for varnishes. The coatings exhibited a pronounced enrichment of the DICY hardener at the metal oxide–polymer interface.