Influence of the Glass Transition Temperature and the Density of Crosslinking Groups on the Reversibility of Diels-Alder Polymer Networks


The interest in self-healing, recyclable, and adaptable polymers is growing. This work addresses the reversibility of crosslink formation based on Diels-Alder reaction in copolymer networks containing furfuryl and maleimide groups, which represent the “diene” and the “dienophile,” respectively. The copolymers are synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and free radical polymerization. The diene bearing copolymers are crosslinked either with a small molecule containing two dienophiles or with a dienophile bearing copolymer. The influence of the crosslinking temperature on the Diels-Alder reaction is analyzed. Furthermore, the influence of the glass transition temperature and the influence of the density of crosslinking groups on the thermo-reversibility of crosslinking are investigated by temperature dependent infrared spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. It is shown that the reversibility of crosslinking is strongly influenced by the glass transition temperature of the system.
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