Water-swellable elastomers: synthesis, properties and applications

Lorenzo Massimo Polgar, Francesca Fallani, Juul Cuijpers, Patrizio Raffa, Antonius Broekhuis, Martin van Duin, Francesco Picchioni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Water-swellable elastomers (WSE) constitute a class of rubbery materials that have been widely studied both in academia and industry during the last 25 years. Market pull is the major driver for the exploration of these materials. The need of WSE in several sealing applications has driven the attention of many academic researchers toward the possibility to provide a rubber with water-swelling characteristics. As commercial rubbers are hydrophobic materials, making them swell in water presents an interesting and difficult challenge. This paper reviews the scientific and patent literature on the fundamental aspects of WSE: the various synthetic approaches, the properties of the corresponding polymers (not only the swelling performance but also the mechanical behavior), and some of their applications. Particular attention is paid to the chemical structure/performance relationships of WSE. Finally, the authors speculate on a great future for WSE that can be rationally designed for improved and/or new applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-72
Number of pages28
JournalReviews in Chemical Engineering
Volume35
Issue number1
Early online date18-Dec-2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2019

Keywords

  • grafting
  • polymer blend
  • rubber
  • sealing applications
  • water-swellable elastomer
  • AMPHIPHILIC CRAFT COPOLYMER
  • SOLID-STATE MODIFICATION
  • SWELLING BEHAVIOR
  • MECHANICAL-PROPERTIES
  • POLY(ETHYLENE GLYCOL)
  • GRAFT-COPOLYMERIZATION
  • DIMENSIONAL STABILITY
  • CHEMICAL-MODIFICATION
  • THERMAL-PROPERTIES
  • CROSS-LINKING

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