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Design of nonaqueous polymer gels with broad temperature performance: Impact of solvent quality and processing conditions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 January 2011

Randy A. Mrozek
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland 21005; and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185
Phillip J. Cole*
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185; and Northrop Grumman A&AS, Arlington, Virginia 22209
Duane A. Schneider
Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185
Ronald C. Hedden
Texas Tech University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Lubbock, Texas 79409
Joseph L. Lenhart*
U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland 21005; and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185
a)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
b)Address all correspondence to this author. e-mail:
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Polymer gels have potential use for a wide variety of applications, primarily due to the ability to tailor the gel properties by varying several material parameters. While substantial attention has focused on water-based hydrogels, the use of these materials is limited due to a narrow operational temperature range. This report describes a nonaqueous polymer gel, composed of a cross-linked polybutadiene network swollen with low volatility polymer plasticizers. Thermal, mechanical, and adhesive characterization illustrated that the gels exhibit performance over an extremely broad temperature range (−60–70 °C). Solvent quality and loading played a critical role in the operational temperature window with small solvent solubility parameter deviations dramatically reducing the operational temperature range. In addition, the processing conditions had a large impact on the gel mechanical properties. As a result, it is important to consider the influence of processing conditions and solvent quality when tailoring polymer gels for practical applications.

Copyright © Materials Research Society 2010

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