Natural rubber (NR) latex films surface-grafted with hydrophilic monomers, poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA), N-vinylpyrrolidone (VPy), and 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC), were prepared by UV-induced graft polymerization using benzophenone as a photosensitizer. The grafting yield increases of vulcanized NR latex films as a function of time and monomer concentration were of lesser magnitude than those of the unvulcanized NR latex films. This can be explained as a result of the crosslinked network generated during vulcanization acting as a barrier to the permeation of the photosensitizer and the monomer. The appearance of a characteristic carbonyl stretching in the attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) spectra of NR latex films after the surface grafting of PEGMA and MPC indicates that the modification has proceeded at least to the sampling depth of ATR-FTIR (∼ 1–2 μm). According to the water contact angle of the modified NR latex films, the surface grafting density became higher as the grafting time and monomer concentration increased. The complete absence of plasma protein adsorption and platelet adhesion on the surface-modified NR latex films having grafting yield above 1 wt % is a strong indication of improved blood compatibility. Results from tensile tests suggest that graft polymerization does not cause adverse effects on the mechanical properties of vulcanized NR latex films. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009
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