Polyurethane interpenetrating polymer networks. V. Engineering properties of polyurethane–poly(methyl methacrylate) IPN's



The engineering properties of polyurethane–poly(methyl methacrylate) simultaneous interpenetrating networks (SIN's) were evaluated. The hardness behavior reflected the observed phase inversion in the electron-microscopic studies. The maximum ultimate tensile strength was observed at 85% polyurethane–15% poly(methyl methacrylate) IPN and was due to the filler-reinforcing effect of the rigid poly(methyl methacrylate) phase. The ultimate tensile strenght of the 75/25 polyurethane–poly(methyl methacrylate) IPN was higher than that of the corresponding pseudo-IPN's (only one network crosslinked) and the linear blend. The leathery and glassy compositions did not show any reinforcement in the ultimate tensile strength. This indicated that the reinforcement in the ultimate tensile strength was not directly related to interpenetration (by increased physical entanglement crosslinks), but indirectly related by reducing the rigid phase domain sizes and increasing the adhesion between the two phases, thus enhancing the filler-reinforcing effect similar to that observed in a carbon black-filled rubber. The tear strengths of the polyurethane-rich IPN's pseudo-IPN's, and linear blends were found to be higher than that of the pure polyurethane as a combined result of increased modulus and tensile strength. The weight retentions in the thermal decomposition of the IPN's, pseudo-IPN's, and linear blends were higher than the proportional average of the component networks. The results seemed to indicate that this enhancement was related to the presence of the unzipped methyl methacrylate monomer. It was suggested that the monomers acted as radical scavengers in the polyurethane degradation, thus delaying the further reaction of the polyurethane radicals into volatile amines, isocyanates, alcohols, olefins, and carbon dioxide.