Sequential interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) based on nitrile rubber and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) were synthesized. IPN compositions were varied by varying the swelling time. Two methods were adopted for making IPNs. The first method is “single-step IPN” (SIPN) and the second method is “multistep IPN” (MIPN). The compositions were fixed around 90, 80, 70, 60 and 50% of NBR. In SIPN mode, swelling in monomer and subsequent curing was done once. In MIPN mode, swelling in monomer and curing was repeatedly done. Tensile strength of IPNs was found to increase with PMMA content, MIPN showing higher strength compared to SIPN. Dynamic modulus showed a similar trend. The tan δ value was found to decrease with PMMA content. At 62/38 nitrile rubber (NBR)/PMMA, MIPN composition isolated tan δ peaks appeared near glass transition temperatures of NBR and PMMA, respectively. Scanning electron micrograph showed phase-separated morphology at the same MIPN composition. Solvent resistance increased with IPN formation maintaining higher resistance for MIPN compared to SIPN. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 354–360, 2004
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