Diels-Alder chemistry has been used for the thermoreversible cross-linking of furan-functionalized ethylene/propylene (EPM) and ethylene/vinyl acetate (EVM) rubbers. Both furan-functionalized elastomers were successfully cross-linked with bismaleimide to yield products with a similar cross-link density. NMR relaxometry and SAXS measurements both show that the apolar EPM-g-furan precursor contains phase-separated polar clusters and that cross-linking with polar bismaleimide occurs in these clusters. The heterogeneously cross-linked network of EPM-g-furan contrasts with the homogeneous network in the polar EVM-g-furan. The heterogeneous character of the cross-links in EPM-g-furan results in a relatively high Youngs modulus, whereas the more uniform cross-linking in EVM-g-furan results in a higher tensile strength and elongation at break.
- Journal Article