Materials Science

Grafting olefin polymers for stretchiness

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Science  06 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6261, pp. 647-648
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6261.647-g

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) are stretchy rubberlike polymers that can be melt-processed, do not require cross-linking, and, unlike rubbers, can be recycled. Ohtaki et al. set out to create TPEs based solely on olefin polymers that would not require or be limited by the need for living polymerization processes. They grafted either isotactic or syndiotactic polypropylene segments to a backbone made from ethylene and α-olefins. The polypropylene is crystalline and imparts stiffness and a physical networks structure to the polymer, whereas the noncrystallizing backbone lets the polymer stretch. Samples showed up to 85% elastic recovery when stretched up to 1000%, rivaling the best linear block polyolefin TPEs.

Macromolecules 10.1021/acs.macromol.5b01975 (2015).

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