A proof of principle for the use of Diels-Alder (DA) chemistry as a thermoreversible cross-linking tool for ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) rubber is demonstrated using two differently prepared amorphous furan-functionalized EVA rubbers. The first is an EVFM terpolymer of ethylene, vinyl acetate, and furfuryl methacrylate. The second is an EVA-g-furan product, resulting from the reaction of maleated EVA with furfurylamine. Both furan-containing EVA rubbers have been cross-linked with bismaleimide (BM) via a DA coupling reaction to yield final products with similar cross-link density. The BM cross-linked EVFM terpolymer products display rubber properties similar to the ones of peroxide-cured EVA rubbers with similar cross-link densities, whereas the rubber properties of the BM cross-linked EVA-g-furan correspond to those of a rubber with a higher cross-link density. The preparation of the EVA-g-furan was up-scaled to a small internal mixer, which also allowed compounding with carbon black and mineral oil in the same step. Compounding with carbon black results in reinforcement of the EVA rubber (i.e., enhanced strength), and does not interfere with the reprocessing via the retro DA reaction.
- thermal reversibility
- post-polymerization modification
- ethylene/vinyl acetate
- DIELS-ALDER REACTION
- VINYL ACETATE