A Step Toward Recyclable Silicone Elastomers
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This thesis introduces a new strategy for developing polysiloxane networks with the capacity of being recycled. The conventional methods of cross-linking polysiloxanes suffer from lack of self-repair and recyclability. Diels-Alder/retro-Diels-Alder (DA/RDA) equilibrium is a key to establish thermally reversible linkages among polysiloxane chains to enable the material’s recyclability. The equilibrium is optimized to improve the extent of reversibility of the Diels-Alder adduct through functional groups such as carboxyphenyl, ester, and carbon spacers in the structures of maleimide and furan derivatives. The DA/RDA equilibrium is studied by various nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy experiments and differential scanning calorimeter analyses. The DA reaction is found to be at its highest rate at 50 ͦC while the retro-Diels-Alder reaction is predominant at 110 ͦC. Comparison of the reaction rate constant of the optimized maleimide and furan derivatives at 50 ͦC with the literature suggests that the DA reaction is among those ones described as ultra fast kinetic. Accordingly, series of polysiloxanes are functionalized with the optimized maleimide and furan derivatives to obtain recyclable polysiloxane networks. Dynamic, variable-temperature solid-state 1H NMR experiments are confirmed the rapid, reversible nature of the cross-links within the polysiloxanes. The injured networks are mended to the point that signs of defects were nearly imperceptible even by scanning electron microscopy. The binding strengths of the healed materials are quantified using stress-strain measurements. The healed networks displayed binding strengths that are equal or superior to the undamaged ones.