Effects of fullerene derivatives on the gas permeability of thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers



In an effort to improve the gas barrier properties of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) elastomers, fullerene derivatives were added as fillers, and the resulting O2 and CO2 permeabilities were analyzed. The addition of 5 wt % polyhydroxylated fullerene {fullerenol [C60(OH)n] mixture, where n = 6–12} decreased the gas permeability by approximately 10–20%. According to the hole volumes computed with the results from positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy, the addition of fullerene derivatives did not produce any changes in the hole volumes of the TPUs. Thus, the reduction in the TPU gas permeability was not caused by changes in the hole volumes. Instead, an inhibited diffusion of gas molecules by fullerene particles was deduced as the cause of the decrease in gas permeability from changes in the diffusion coefficient with temperature. The addition of urethanized fullerene, prepared through the chemical modification of fullerenol, markedly affected the TPU gas barrier properties. As compared to fullerenol addition, the gas barrier properties improved approximately fourfold for O2 and approximately fivefold for CO2. These results suggest that the dispersability of urethanized fullerene in TPU was higher than that of fullerenol. We found that the gas barrier properties were independent of the structure of polyol. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2014, 131, 39986.