Mechanical properties of nanostructured films with an ultralow volume fraction of hard phase

Abstract : We demonstrate in this paper how polymerization induced self-assembly (PISA) using RAFT can be used to synthesize very asymmetric but monodisperse poly(acrylic acid)-b-poly(n-butyl acrylate) block copolymers, PAA-b-PBA, with a short PAA block and a long PBA block. In the course of the surfactant-free emulsion polymerization, core-shell particles form in water, with the short hydrophilic block located at the water-particle interface, and the long hydrophobic block constituting the particle core. Drying at room temperature creates films possessing an out of equilibrium structure, where the glassy PAA block generates a percolating network of shells. When deformed in uniaxial elongation, these films combine a high stiffness in small strains (considering the low volume fraction of PAA, of only 3 wt%), a yield stress and a significant extensibility before failure. The modulus, yield stress and extensibility can be tuned by modifying the composition of the latex serum with cations or positively charged low molar mass polymers, or by changing the copolymer composition. Of particular interest was the synthesis by PISA of particles of triblock copolymer PAA-b-PBA-b-PS. The out of equilibrium structure obtained had a very interesting combination of high stiffness, extensibility and high fracture toughness.
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Marion Chenal, Cyril Véchambre, J.-M. Chenal, Laurent Chazeau, Vincent Humblot, et al.. Mechanical properties of nanostructured films with an ultralow volume fraction of hard phase. Polymer, Elsevier, 2017, 109, pp.187-196. ⟨10.1016/j.polymer.2016.12.043⟩. ⟨hal-01421077⟩

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