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Synthesis of 1,3-diene-based block copolymers by nitroxide-mediated polymerization for application as robust joining between composite matrices

Abstract : The aim of this study was to produce a novel thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), used as a tough and stable joining between composite matrices. Having typically thermo-reversible crosslinks, TPE can be processed as thermoplastics and exhibit elastic behavior similar to that of chemically crosslinked elastomers in a certain temperature range. Nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP) was selected to synthesize linear styrenic block copolymer TPE. \uD835\uDEFD-Myrcene (My) was first considered to manufacture the soft elastomeric segment poly(\uD835\uDEFD-myrcene) P(My) (glass transition temperature Tg ~ − 77 oC). NMP of My at 120 oC in bulk using succinimidyl ester-functionalized BlocBuilderTM alkoxyamine (NHS-BB) was well-controlled, allowing styrene (S) chain-extension from cis-1,4-P(My) macroinitiator. The resulting P(My-b-S) diblock copolymers, exhibiting relatively low number-average molar mass (Mn < 50 kg.mol-1), showed limited stress-strain behavior (ultimate tensile strength σB < 1.1 MPa, elongation at break εB < 16%). Meanwhile, the introduction of functional groups into the soft segment was implemented to subsequently aid the adhesive bonding / welding process between the TPE and the considered polar thermoplastic composites. Well-tailored epoxide functionalized P(My) were thereby synthesized by My/glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) nitroxide-mediated copolymerization. BlocBuilder-terminated poly(ethylene-co-butylene)-(SG1)2 (SG1 = chain-end nitroxide group) difunctional initiator was used to produce S-My-S triblock copolymers with Mn = 56-66 kg.mol-1, which exhibited improved extensibility (σB < 0.8 MPa, εB < 200%). Poly(styrene) PS blocks were then substituted by higher Tg blocks, namely poly(isobornyl methacrylate) P(IBOMA) to enhance the toughness and the service temperature of the candidate TPE. Micro-phase separated IBOMA-My-IBOMA type triblocks exhibited improved mechanical properties (σB = 3.9 MPa, yield strength σY = 5.0 MPa, εB = 490%) associated with an extended upper service temperature of about 140 oC. However, My-based TPE did not satisfy the ArianeGroup mechanical requirements at room temperature, which prompted us to replace P(My) by poly(isoprene) (PI), which has much lower entanglement molar mass compared to P(My). Well-defined and active 1,4-PI-(SG1)2 macroinitiators were first chain-extended with S, leading to self-assembled S-I-S triblocks (Mn = 95-109 kg.mol-1, molar fraction of S in the copolymer FS = 0.30-0.49, dispersity Đ = 2.11-2.29). With FS = 0.38, S-I-S showed σB = 4.1 ± 0.2 MPa and εB = 380 ± 60 %. IBOMA-I-IBOMA type copolymer was then produced (Mn = 94 kg.mol-1, Đ = 1.76, FIBOMA = 0.35) and improved stress-strain properties were obtained at room temperature (σB = 11.4 ± 0.6 MPa and εB = 1360 ± 210 %). Lastly, hydrogenation of I-based block copolymers was performed at normal pressure and resulted mostly in an enhanced thermal stability, a greater tensile stress at break and a reduced elongation at break.
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Adrien Métafiot. Synthesis of 1,3-diene-based block copolymers by nitroxide-mediated polymerization for application as robust joining between composite matrices. Materials. Université de Lyon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSEI076⟩. ⟨tel-02063291⟩

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