Hostname: page-component-594f858ff7-pr6g6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-06-08T12:11:10.455Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "corePageComponentUseShareaholicInsteadOfAddThis": true, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Adhesion of Triblock Copolymer-Based Thermoreversible Gels and Pressure Sensitive Adhesives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2011

Kenneth R. Shull
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University2225 N. Campus Dr. Evanston, IL 60208–3108
Alfred J. Crosby
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University2225 N. Campus Dr. Evanston, IL 60208–3108
Cynthia M. Flanigan
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University2225 N. Campus Dr. Evanston, IL 60208–3108
Get access


Triblock copolymers with poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) end blocks and a poly (n-butyl acrylate) (PnBA) midblock have been synthesized as model pressure sensitive adhesives and thermoreversible gels. These materials dissolve in a variety of alcohols at temperatures above 60 °C to form freely flowing liquids. At lower temperatures the PMMA end-blocks associate so that the solutions form ideally elastic solids. In our case the solvent is 2-ethylhexanol, polymer volume fractions vary from 0.05 to 0.3, and the elastic moduli are close to 10,000 Pa. We have conducted three types of experiments to elucidate the origins of adhesion and bulk mechanical properties of these materials: 1) Weakly adhering gels: The adhesive properties of the gels are dominated by the solvent. Very little adhesion hysteresis is observed in this case, although we do observe hysteresis associated with the frictional response of the layers. 2) Strongly adhering gels. By heating the gels in contact with a PMMA surface, it is possible to bond the gels to the surface. Development of adhesion as the PMMA blocks penetrate into the PMMA substrate can be probed in this case. The cohesive strengths of the gels are found to be substantially greater than their elastic moduli, so that these materials can be reversibly extended to very high strains. These properties have enabled us to probe the origins of elastic shape instabilities that play a very important role in the behavior of thin adhesive layers. 3) Dried gels – model pressure sensitive adhesives. By removing the solvent at low temperatures, the underlying structure of the gel is preserved, giving a thin elastic layer with excellent performance as a pressure sensitive adhesive. Resistance to adhesive failure, expressed as a velocity-dependent fracture energy, greatly exceeds the thermodynamic work of adhesion. This energy is further magnified by ‘bulk’ energy dissipation when the stress applied to the adhesive layer exceeds its yield stress.

Research Article
Copyright © Materials Research Society 2000

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



1. Mortensen, K. and Pedersen, J.S., Macromolecules 26, 805 (1993).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
2. Kleppinger, R., K., R., Mischenko, N., Overbergh, N., Koch, M.H.J., Mortensen, K. and Reynaers, H., Macromolecules 30, 7008 (1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
3. Mischenko, N., Reynders, K., Koch, M.H.J., Mortensen, K., Pedersen, J.S., Fontaine, F., Graulus, R. and Reynaers, H., Macromolecules 28, 2054 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
4. Mischenko, N., Reynders, K., Mortensen, K., Scherrenberg, R., Fontaine, F., Graulus, R. and Reynaers, H., Macromolecules 27, 2345 (1994).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
5. Reynders, K., Mischenko, N., Kleppinger, R., Reynaers, H., Koch, M.H.J. and Mortensen, K., J. Appl. Cryst. 30, 684 (1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
6. Balsara, N.P., Tirrell, M. and Lodge, T.P., Macromolecules 24, 1975 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
7. ten Brinke, G. and Hadziioannou, G., Macromolecules 20, 486 (1987).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
8. Yu, J.M., Jerome, R. and Teyssie, P., Polymer 38, 347 (1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
9. Brown, W., Schillen, K., Almgren, M., Hvidt, S. and Bahadur, P., J. Phys. Chem. 95, 1850 (1991).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
10. Laurer, J.H., Mulling, J.F., Khan, S.A., Spontak, R.J. and Bukovnik, R., J. of Polymer Science: Part B: Polymer Physics 36, 2379 (1998).3.0.CO;2-0>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
11. Kleppinger, R., van Es, M., Mischenko, N., Koch, M.H.J. and Reynaers, H., Macromolecules 31, 5805 (1998).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
12. Quintana, J.R., Diaz, E. and Katime, I., Macromol. Chem. Phys. 197, 3017 (1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
13. Reynders, K., Mischenko, N., Mortensen, K., Overbergh, N. and Reynaers, H., Macromolecules 28, 8699 (1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
14. Mowery, C.L., Crosby, A.J., Ahn, D. and Shull, K.R., Langmuir 13, 6101 (1997).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
15. Flanigan, C.M. and Shull, K.R., Langmuir 15, 4966 (1999).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
16. Shull, K.R., Flanigan, C.M. and Crosby, A.J., Phys. Rev. Lett. 84, 3057 (2000).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
17. Crosby, A.J. and Shull, K.R., J. Polym. Sci., Polym. Phys. 37, 3455 (1999).3.0.CO;2-3>CrossRefGoogle Scholar