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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: December 2009

19 - Current problems and new directions

from Part II - Additional topics


Listed below are some aspects of rubberlike elasticity which are clearly in need of additional research (Mark, 2004a, b). Most have already been mentioned or will be obvious from the discussions in the preceding chapters.

Improved understanding of dependence of the transition temperatures Tg and Tm on polymer structure

Preparation and characterization of “high-performance” elastomers

New cross-linking techniques

Improved understanding of network topology

Generalization of phenomenological theory

More experimental results for deformations other than elongation and swelling

Better characterization of segmental orientation, and its effects on strain-induced crystallization

More detailed understanding of critical phenomena and gel collapse

Additional molecular characterizations using NMR spectroscopy and various scattering techniques

Study of possibly unique properties of bioelastomers

Improved understanding of reinforcing effects of filler particles in a network

Quantitative interpretation of the toughening effects of elastomers in blends and in composites, particularly the polymer-modified ceramics

Environmental concerns ranging from elastomer synthesis to recycling

There is a real need for more high-performance elastomers, which are materials that remain elastomeric to very low temperatures and are relatively stable at very high temperatures. Some phosphazene polymers (Mark et al., 1992a, 2005b) are in this category. These polymers have rather low glass transition temperatures in spite of the fact that the skeletal bonds of the chains are thought to have some double-bond character. There are thus a number of interesting problems related to the elastomeric behavior of these unusual semi-inorganic polymers. There is also increasing interest in the study of elastomers that also exhibit the type of mesomorphic behavior described in Chapter 16.