Radical-cured block copolymer-modified thermosets

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Poly(ethylene-alt-propylene)-b-poly(ethylene oxide) (PEP-PEO) diblock copolymers were synthesized and added at 4 wt % to 2,2-bis[4-(2-hydroxy-3- methacryloxypropoxy)phenyl]propane (BisGMA), a monomer that cures using free radical chemistry. In separate experiments, poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) was combined as a secondary monomer with BisGMA and the monomers were loaded with 4 wt % PEP-PEO. The diblock copolymers self-assembled into well-dispersed spherical micelles with PEP cores and PEO coronas. No appreciable change in the final extent of cure of the thermosets was caused by the addition of diblock copolymer, except in the case of BisGMA, where the addition of the block copolymer increased extent of cure by 12%. Furthermore, the extent of cure was increased by 29% and 37% with the addition of 25 and 50 wt % PEGDMA, respectively. Elastic modulus and fracture resistance were also determined, and the values indicate that the addition of block copolymers does not significantly toughen the thermoset materials. This finding is surprising when compared with the large increase in fracture resistance seen in block copolymer-modified epoxies, and an explanation is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-550
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011


  • block copolymers
  • curing of polymers
  • micelles
  • networks
  • radical polymerization
  • thermosets
  • toughness

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