Recyclability of Photoinduced Cross-Linked EPM Rubber with Anthracene-Grafted Groups: Problems and Their Solutions

Alexander T. Zdvizhkov*, Krists Smogorzevskis, Martin van Duin, Francesco Picchioni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In this paper, we present the formation of reversible covalently cross-linked networks in ethylene propylene rubber with grafted anthracene groups (EPM-g-AN) based on the principles of photoinduced anthracene dimerization. First, an industrial-grade EPM rubber grafted with maleic anhydride functional groups (EPM-g-MA) was modified with 9-anthracenemethanol. By irradiating EPM-g-AN with UV light (365 nm), the anthracene moieties dimerize via [4 + 4]cycloaddition, forming a covalent network. The network cleavage proceeds at high temperatures (>170 °C), even if with considerable (chemical) degradation. Furthermore, one of the degradation routes has been identified by 1H NMR to occur via the ester bond cleavage releasing 9-anthracenemethanol. Nevertheless, the reversibility of cross-linking has been achieved by performing the reverse reaction in decalin. The UV-vis spectroscopy clearly shows that the de-cross-linking process in these conditions is due to the anthracene dimer cleavage. Although the recovery in mechanical properties upon recycling is yet to be optimized, the disclosed results pave the way toward the use of anthracene chemistry in thermally reversible networks with possible industrial perspective applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30454-30460
Number of pages7
JournalACS Omega
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 1-Dec-2020

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