Year of Publication
Douglass S. Kalika
The relaxation characteristics of rubbery poly(ethylene oxide) [PEO] networks have been investigated as a function of network composition and architecture via dynamic mechanical analysis and broadband dielectric spectroscopy. A series of model networks were prepared via UV photopolymerization using poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate [PEGDA] as crosslinker: variations in crosslink density were achieved either by the introduction of water in the prepolymerization reaction mixture, or by the inclusion of mono-functional acrylate such as poly(ethylene glycol) methyl ether acrylate [PEGMEA] or poly(ethylene glycol) acrylate [PEGA]. Copolymerization with mono-functional acrylate led to the insertion of flexible branches along the network backbone, and the corresponding glass-rubber relaxation properties of the copolymers (i.e., Tg, relaxation breadth, fragility) were a sensitive function of network architecture and corresponding fractional free volume. Relatively subtle variations in network structure led to significant differences in relaxation characteristics, and a systematic series of studies was undertaken to examine the influence of branch length, branch end-group, and crosslinker flexibility on viscoelastic response. Dielectric spectroscopy was especially useful for the elucidation of localized, sub-glass relaxations in the polymer networks: the imposition of local constraint in the vicinity of the crosslink junctions led to the detection of a distinctive fast relaxation process in the networks that was similar to a comparable sub-glass relaxation observed in crystalline PEO and in the confined regions of PEO nanocomposites. Gas permeation studies on the model PEGDA networks confirmed their utility as highly-permeable, reverse-selective membrane materials, and strategic control of the network architecture could be used to optimize gas separation performance. Dynamic mechanical and dielectric measurements have also been performed on a semicrystalline polyester, poly(trimethylene terephthalate) [PTT], in order to assess the influence of processing history on the resultant morphology and corresponding viscoelastic relaxation characteristics. Studies on both quenched and annealed PTT revealed the presence of a substantial fraction of rigid amorphous phase (RAP) material in the crystalline samples: dielectric measurements showed a strong increase in relaxation intensity above the glass transition indicating a progressive mobilization of the rigid amorphous phase with increasing temperature prior to crystalline melting.
Kalakkunnath, Sumod, "VISCOELASTIC RELAXATION CHARACTERISTICS OF RUBBERY POLYMER NETWORKS AND ENGINEERING POLYESTERS" (2007). University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations. 486.