The sensitizing effects of polyfunctional poly(ester acrylate) on the radiation crosslinking of polycaprolactone (PCL) were studied. The influences of the use of the polyfunctional material, the number of functional groups, and the radiation dose on the radiation crosslinking, dynamic mechanical properties, and shape-memory behaviors of PCL, respectively, were investigated. The radiation crosslinking of PCL, under the conditions in which the polyfunctional material was applied, did not follow the classic Charlesby–Pinner equation but instead followed the Chen–Liu–Tang relation. The efficiency of the radiation crosslinking of PCL was distinctly improved with the polyfunctional material. The greater the usage and functional group number were, the greater gel content and the more distinctive the radiation-crosslinking effects were. This also indicated that the polyfunctional material directly participated in the crosslinking reaction. Dynamic mechanical analysis indicated that enhanced radiation crosslinking better raised the heat deformation temperature of PCL and presented a higher and wider rubbery-state plateau; it also produced greater strength at temperatures higher than the melting temperature and provided greater force for recovering the deformation than pure PCL. The shape-memory results revealed that sensitizing crosslinked PCL presented 100% recoverable deformation and a quicker recovery rate. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 95: 634–639, 2005
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