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Keywords:

  • sequential IPN;
  • HEMA;
  • silicone rubber;
  • experimental design

Abstract

The preparation of interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) from silicone rubber and hydrogel forming poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (HEMA) were studied. The HEMA monomer was polymerized with simultaneous crosslink formation in the presence of the swollen silicone rubber. To minimize the required number of experiments, the Taguchi method of experimental design involving the factors of temperature, monomer concentration, initiator concentration, and crosslinker concentration was used. Upon removal of the swelling solvent, an IPN was obtained which absorbed water in the manner of a hydrogel but had mechanical properties superior to a hydrogel. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 85: 1825–1831, 2002