Breathable barrier textiles for both chemical agent and moisture are being actively developed for military and industrial applications. An ideal approach is to coat textiles with a semi-permeable film that allows the transport of water while still serving as a barrier for chemical agents. Sulfonated poly (styrene-block-isobutylene-block-styrene) (SIBS) copolymer spontaneously phase separates upon drying from solution to produce a nanostructured film with the controlled barrier functionality for water permeation and repelling of chemical agents.
The objective of this research is to investigate coating uniformity and phase morphology of SIBS coating materials fabricated by novel solvent combinations. Scanning electron microscopy analysis is used for the assessment of the coating uniformity as well as the level of adhesion between the polymer coating and fabric substrate. Transmission electron microscopy is used to characterize the phase separation morphology of the SIBS copolymer coating. The mechanical behavior of the coated fabric is determined through tensile and shear tests and is compared to the bare fabric behavior. The goal of this study is to relate the processing conditions of the final nanostructured block copolymer coated fabric produced on industrial scale.