Chemical control of the viscoelastic properties of vinylogous urethane vitrimers

Vinylogous urethane based vitrimers are polymer networks that have the intrinsic property to undergo network rearrangements, stress relaxation and viscoelastic flow, mediated by rapid addition/elimination reactions of free chain end amines. Here we show that the covalent exchange kinetics significantly can be influenced by combination with various simple additives. As anticipated, the exchange reactions on network level can be further accelerated using either Brønsted or Lewis acid additives. Remarkably, however, a strong inhibitory effect is observed when a base is added to the polymer matrix. These effects have been mechanistically rationalized, guided by low-molecular weight kinetic model experiments. Thus, vitrimer elastomer materials can be rationally designed to display a wide range of viscoelastic properties.

http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms14857

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