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Title: Improved Mechanical Performance Fracture Properties and Reliability of Radical-Cured Thermosets

The aim of this study was to alter polymerization chemistry to improve network homogeneity in free-radical crosslinked systems. It was hypothesized that a reduction in heterogeneity of the network would lead to improved mechanical performance. Experiments and simulations were carried out to investigate the connection between polymerization chemistry, network structure and mechanical properties. Experiments were conducted on two different monomer systems - the first is a single monomer system, urethane dimethacrylate (UDMA), and the second is a two-monomer system consisting of bisphenol A glycidyl dimethacrylate (BisGMA) and triethylene glycol dimethacrylate (TEGDMA) in a ratio of 70/30 BisGMA/TEGDMA by weight. The methacrylate systems were crosslinked using traditional radical polymeriza- tion (TRP) with azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) or benzoyl peroxide (BPO) as an initiator; TRP systems were used as the control. The monomers were also cross-linked using activator regenerated by electron transfer atom transfer radical polymerization (ARGET ATRP) as a type of controlled radical polymerization (CRP). FTIR and DSC were used to monitor reac- tion kinetics of the systems. The networks were analyzed using NMR, DSC, X-ray diffraction (XRD), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). These techniques were employed in an attempt to quantify differences between the traditional and controlledmore » radical polymerizations. While a quantitative methodology for characterizing net- work morphology was not established, SAXS and AFM have shown some promising initial results. Additionally, differences in mechanical behavior were observed between traditional and controlled radical polymerized thermosets in the BisGMA/TEGDMA system but not in the UDMA materials; this finding may be the result of network ductility variations between the two materials. Coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations employing a novel model of the CRP reaction were carried out for the UDMA system, with parameters calibrated based on fully atomistic simulations of the UDMA monomer in the liquid state. Detailed metrics based on network graph theoretical approaches were implemented to quantify the bond network topology resulting from simulations. For a broad range of polymerization parameters, no discernible differences were seen between TRP and CRP UDMA simulations at equal conversions, although clear differences exist as a function of conversion. Both findings are consistent with experiments. Despite a number of shortcomings, these models have demonstrated the potential of molecular simulations for studying network topology in these systems.« less
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  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States