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Effect of Rubber Polarity on Cluster Formation in Rubbers Cross-Linked with Diels–Alder Chemistry

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-11-07, 19:51 authored by L. M. Polgar, E. Hagting, P. Raffa, M. Mauri, R. Simonutti, F. Picchioni, M. van Duin
Diels–Alder chemistry has been used for the thermoreversible cross-linking of furan-functionalized ethylene/propylene (EPM) and ethylene/vinyl acetate (EVM) rubbers. Both furan-functionalized elastomers were successfully cross-linked with bismaleimide to yield products with a similar cross-link density. NMR relaxometry and SAXS measurements both show that the apolar EPM-g-furan precursor contains phase-separated polar clusters and that cross-linking with polar bismaleimide occurs in these clusters. The heterogeneously cross-linked network of EPM-g-furan contrasts with the homogeneous network in the polar EVM-g-furan. The heterogeneous character of the cross-links in EPM-g-furan results in a relatively high Young’s modulus, whereas the more uniform cross-linking in EVM-g-furan results in a higher tensile strength and elongation at break.