Mechanical Properties and Failure Behavior of Physically Assembled Triblock Copolymer Gels with Varying Midblock Length
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© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Mechanical properties including the failure behavior of physically assembled gels or physical gels are governed by their network structure. To investigate such behavior, we consider a physical gel system consisting of poly(styrene)-poly(isoprene)-poly(styrene)[PS-PI-PS] in mineral oil. In these gels, the endblock (PS) molecular weights are not significantly different, whereas, the midblock (PI) molecular weight has been varied such that we can access gels with and without midblock entanglement. Small angle X-ray scattering data reveals that the gels are composed of collapsed PS aggregates connected by PI chains. The gelation temperature has been found to be a function of the endblock concentration. Tensile tests display stretch-rate dependent modulus at high strain for the gels with midblock entanglement. Creep failure behavior has also been found to be influenced by the entanglement. Fracture experiments with predefined cracks show that the energy release rate scales linearly with the crack-tip velocity for all gels considered here. In addition, increase of midblock chain length resulted in higher viscous dissipation leading to a higher energy release rate. The results provide an insight into how midblock entanglement can possibly affect the mechanical properties of physically assembled triblock copolymer gels in a midblock selective solvent. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2019, 57, 1014–1026.
author list (cited authors)
Mishra, S., Prado, R., Zhang, S., Lacy, T. E., Gu, X., & Kundu, S.