Effect of precise linker length, bond density, and broad temperature window on the rheological properties of ethylene vitrimers†
Dynamic networks which undergo topology conserving exchange reactions, sometimes called vitrimers, show properties intermediate to thermosets and thermoplastics. The dynamic nature of the networks results in complex rheological properties and has attracted much attention in the past decade for self-healing, malleable and recyclable polymers. Here, we investigate a series of precise, high crosslink density telechelic ethylene vitrimers as a function of temperature and crosslink density. The networks show a rubbery plateau at high frequencies and a terminal flow regime at lower frequencies. With increasing crosslink density, the rubbery plateau modulus shows a monotonic increase and the terminal flow shifts to lower frequencies. The plateau modulus at high frequency increases as a function of temperature, as expected for a conserved network topology. When plotted against inverse temperature, the zero shear viscosities show a characteristic Arrhenius behavior, and the activation energy monotonically increases with crosslink density. Crossover frequency and shift factors (from time temperature superposition) also show Arrhenius behavior with activation energies in good agreement with those determined from zero shear viscosity. A positive deviation from this Arrhenius trend is observed beginning as high as 100 K above the glass transition temperature for C6 and C8 networks. Further investigations of such networks are critical for the development of sustainable and recyclable replacements for commercial plastics.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators