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Abstract

Transparent, interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) materials were synthesized using polyurethane (PU) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). PMMA contributed to the transparency and rigidity necessary for use in impact-resistant applications, whereas PU contributed to toughness. Several factors affecting the physical properties, such as the ratio of PU to PMMA, curing profile, inclusion of different isocyanates for the PU phase, and use of an inhibitor in the PMMA phase, were investigated. Full-IPNs were synthesized so that the two polymer networks would remain entangled with one another, and domain sizes of each system were reduced, mitigating phase separation. Both simultaneous IPNs, polymerization of monomers occurring at the same time, and sequential IPNs, polymerization of monomers occurring at different temperatures, were synthesized for studying the reaction kinetics and final morphologies. The phase morphology and the final thermal and mechanical properties of the IPNs prepared were evaluated. Findings suggest that samples containing ∼80 wt% PMMA, 1,6-diisocyanatohexane 99+% (DCH), and an inhibitor with the MMA monomer created favorable results in the thermo-mechanical and optical properties. POLYM. ENG. SCI. 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers