One of the approaches to prolong the service lifespan of polymeric material is the development of self-healing ability by means of embedded microcapsules containing a healing agent. In this work, poly(melamine-urea-formaldehyde) (PMUF) microcapsules containing a palm oil-based alkyd were produced by polymerization of melamine resin, urea and formaldehyde that encapsulated droplets of the suspended alkyd particles. A series of spherical and free-flowing microcapsules were obtained. The chemical properties of core and shell materials were characterized by Attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1
H-NMR). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analysis showed a glass transition around −15 °C due to the alkyd, and a melting temperature at around 200 °C due to the shell. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) results showed that the core and shell thermally degraded within the temperature range of 200–600 °C. Field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) examination of the ruptured microcapsule showed smooth inner and rough outer surfaces of the shell. Flexural strength and microhardness (Vickers) of the cured epoxy compound were not affected with the incorporation of 1%–3% of the microcapsules. The viability of the healing reactions was demonstrated by blending small amounts of alkyd with epoxy and hardener at different ratios. The blends could readily cure to non-sticky hard solids at room temperature and the reactions could be verified by ATR-FTIR.
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