Shape-memory semicrystalline interconnected IPNs based on various commercial rubbers

Zengin Akça, Özge
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Graduate School
Rubber is a long-lasting polymer that can be generated naturally from the milky sap of the Hevea brasiliensis tree or synthesized from petroleum and alcohol. Rubber whose application in daily life increased with Charles Goodyear's discovery of the vulcanization process; nowadays, it is widely utilized in industrial products, particularly in the automotive industry, agriculture, health care, and a variety of other fields, from raw materials to finished products. With the growing industrialization, the consumption rate of rubber increases, as does the rate of waste rubber. Their large-scale usage has a negative impact on the environment, and their chemical bonds, which have been vulcanized, significantly extend their self-destruct time. Rubber with self-healing and shape memory properties has gained popularity in recent years to prevent it from becoming waste after use. Self-healing materials can heal and recover their original properties after being damaged by thermal, mechanical, physical, or other methods. On the other hand, shape memory is the ability to be programmed into a temporary shape and afterward return to a permanent shape when external stimuli such as temperature are applied. There should be at least two different cross-links in the polymer matrix for the shape-memory ability to appear. Self-healing and shape-memory polymers are appealing materials for a wide range of applications, including implants, actuators, sensors, superconducting devices, smart medical devices, and flexible electronics, because of their unique properties. Moreover, in recent years, developing similar smart features in commercially accessible and frequently used rubbers has received a lot of attention. Within the scope of this thesis, a series of IPNs have been obtained by UV polymerization of n-octadecyl acrylate (C18A) monomer using Irgacure 2959 UV initiator in the presence of varying proportions of styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), cis-butadiene rubber (CBR), and two different types of natural rubbers (NR), together with butyl rubber (IIR) as a reference. The aim of this thesis is to understand how the degree of unsaturation of commercial rubber affects the thermal and mechanical properties and intelligent functions of IPNs. After examining the properties of IPNs prepared using IIR rubber, natural rubber, cis-polybutadiene, and styrene-butadiene rubbers were used in the IPN preparation. As a result of the mechanical and thermal measurements of the obtained IPNs, it has been observed that they all have high mechanical strength and exhibit shape memory properties. Increasing the degree of unsaturation of the rubber increased the chemical crosslink density of the generated IPNs and significantly improved their mechanical properties. The melting temperatures Tm, which can be modified depending on the amount and kind of rubbers used, range from 45 to 50 oC, while the crystallization temperatures Tcry range from 35 to 40 oC. All IPNs exhibit significant temperature sensitivity in their viscoelastic and mechanical properties when the temperature is varied above and below Tm and Tcry. The shape memory feature is facilitated by the existence of a crystalline area in the structure. The IPN material presented here can be programmed into a temporary shape with an increase in temperature above Tm followed by a decrease in temperature below Tm to fix the temporary shape, while it can simply return to the permanent shape by increasing the temperature again. In this thesis, although the self-healing ability of IPNs is disappeared by replacing IIR with other rubbers due to the increased number of chemical crosslinks, they all exhibit a strong shape memory function, as demonstrated for use as a thermo-responsive soft robotic gripper.
Thesis (M.Sc.) -- İstanbul Technical University, Graduate School, 2022
Anahtar kelimeler
intelligent materials, akıllı malzemeler, natural rubber, doğal kauçuk, composite polymers, kompozit polimerler, polybutadiene rubber, polibütadien kauçuk, shape memory alloys, şekil hafızalı alaşımlar