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Article

Substantial Effect of Water on Radical Melt Crosslinking and Rheological Properties of Poly(ε-Caprolactone)

1
Department of Industrial and Materials Science, Division of Engineering Materials, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
2
Laboratory of Polymeric and Composite Materials (LPCM), Center of Innovation and Research in Materials and Polymers (CIRMAP), University of Mons (UMONS), B-7000 Mons, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Khalid Lamnawar
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 491; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040491
Received: 21 January 2021 / Revised: 1 February 2021 / Accepted: 1 February 2021 / Published: 4 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rheology and Processing of Polymers)
One-step reactive melt processing (REx) via radical reactions was evaluated with the aim of improving the rheological properties of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). In particular, a water-assisted REx was designed under the hypothesis of increasing crosslinking efficiency with water as a low viscous medium in comparison with a slower PCL macroradicals diffusion in the melt state. To assess the effect of dry vs. water-assisted REx on PCL, its structural, thermo-mechanical and rheological properties were investigated. Water-assisted REx resulted in increased PCL gel fraction compared to dry REx (from 1–34%), proving the rationale under the formulated hypothesis. From dynamic mechanical analysis and tensile tests, the crosslink did not significantly affect the PCL mechanical performance. Dynamic rheological measurements showed that higher PCL viscosity was reached with increasing branching/crosslinking and the typical PCL Newtonian behavior was shifting towards a progressively more pronounced shear thinning. A complete transition from viscous- to solid-like PCL melt behavior was recorded, demonstrating that higher melt elasticity can be obtained as a function of gel content by controlled REx. Improvement in rheological properties offers the possibility of broadening PCL melt processability without hindering its recycling by melt processing. View Full-Text
Keywords: reactive melt processing; water-assisted; radical crosslinking; peroxide initiators; biopolymers; poly(ε-caprolactone); rheology reactive melt processing; water-assisted; radical crosslinking; peroxide initiators; biopolymers; poly(ε-caprolactone); rheology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Avella, A.; Mincheva, R.; Raquez, J.-M.; Lo Re, G. Substantial Effect of Water on Radical Melt Crosslinking and Rheological Properties of Poly(ε-Caprolactone). Polymers 2021, 13, 491. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040491

AMA Style

Avella A, Mincheva R, Raquez J-M, Lo Re G. Substantial Effect of Water on Radical Melt Crosslinking and Rheological Properties of Poly(ε-Caprolactone). Polymers. 2021; 13(4):491. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040491

Chicago/Turabian Style

Avella, Angelica, Rosica Mincheva, Jean-Marie Raquez, and Giada Lo Re. 2021. "Substantial Effect of Water on Radical Melt Crosslinking and Rheological Properties of Poly(ε-Caprolactone)" Polymers 13, no. 4: 491. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040491

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