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Synthesis, structure, and thermophysical and mechanical properties of new polymers prepared by the cationic copolymerization of corn oil, styrene, and divinylbenzene



New thermosetting polymeric materials were prepared by the cationic copolymerization of corn oil or conjugated corn oil with styrene and divinylbenzene initiated by boron trifluoride diethyl etherate or related modified initiators. The gel times ranged from a few minutes to hours or even days depending on the stoichiometry and curing temperatures. These polymeric materials possessed crosslink densities of 50 to 1.5 × 104 mol/m3 and glass-transition temperatures of 30–99°C. The materials range from soft rubbers to tough and rigid plastics. The Young's moduli of these materials varied from 0.6 to 474 MPa, the ultimate tensile strengths varied from 0.5 to 17.6 MPa, the elongation at break percentages varied from 2 to 198%, the flexural strengths varied from 0.2 to 36 MPa, and the compressive strengths varied from 4.8 to 63.8 MPa. In addition to having commercially viable thermophysical and mechanical properties, these new materials also possessed good damping and shape-memory properties, suggesting numerous, promising applications for these novel corn oil-based polymeric materials. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 90: 1830–1838, 2003