Quantitative Model and Thin Film Studies Relating Molecular Architecture and Degradation of Multifunctional Materials


A characteristic of multifunctional polymer materials is their complex molecular architecture, which creates a challenge in predicting their degradation behavior. Hence, their appropriate design demands a quantitative correlation between their molecular architecture and their molecular degradation behavior. Here, we present a method to analyze and predict the degradation of such molecules by fast and conclusive Langmuir monolayer experiments in combination with kinetic models. Important findings include the retardation of the degradation in the early stage caused by high molecular weight as well as end caps. In multiblock copolymers consisting of fast- and slow-degrading blocks, the molecular weight and the block length have little effect on degradation behavior. In semicrystalline multiblock copolymers, the degradation rate of amorphous blocks is reduced compared to completely amorphous materials. The reaction rate constants that are obtained by this method are essential for predictive models for the degradation of multifunctional devices.
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