The sol–gel process was used to prepare organic/inorganic hybrids utilizing a terpolymer of n-butyl methacrylate, methyl methacrylate, and methacrylic acid as an organic phase and titanium tetrabutoxide as a precursor of the inorganic phase. Such hybrid materials may be of interest as primers for corrosion protection of metal substrates. In the absence of electrochemical influence, which is usually provided by anticorrosive pigments in current protective coatings, the barrier mechanism becomes one of the basic elements for protecting metals against atmospheric corrosion. In that context, we report the water uptake characteristics of hybrid films with titania content up to 16.3 wt %. The slow hydrolysis of butoxy, acetate, and carboxylate ligands, which becomes more and more obvious with an increase in titanium oxide cluster content, is found to produce a chemically driven force for water uptake in hybrids. The 4.6 wt % TiO2 hybrid results in the best balance of properties with a far lower diffusion coefficient and nearly the same amount of water absorbed at saturation compared to the polymer matrix. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 97: 92–102, 2005
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