Microstructural organization of polydimethylsiloxane soft segment polyurethanes derived from a single macrodiol

Taeyi Choi, Jadwiga Weksler, Ajay Padsalgikar, James Runt

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Segmented polyurethane (PU) block copolymers were synthesized using 4,4'-methylenediphenyl diisocyanate and 1,4-butanediol as hard segments and oligomeric ethoxypropyl polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as the soft segments, with hard segment contents ranging from 26 to 52 wt%. The microphase separated morphology, phase transitions, and degrees of phase separation of these novel copolymers were investigated using a variety of experimental methods. Like similar copolymers with mixed ethoxypropyl PDMS/poly(hexamethylene oxide) soft segments, PU copolymers containing only ethoxypropyl PDMS soft segments were found to consist of three microphases: a PDMS matrix phase, hard domains, and a mixed phase containing ethoxypropyl end group segments and dissolved short hard segments. Analysis of unlike segment demixing using small-angle X-ray scattering demonstrates that degrees of phase separation increase significantly as copolymer hard segment content increases, in keeping with findings from Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy measurements.

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