Tough, Transparent, Photocurable Hybrid Elastomers

Anthony J. Silvaroli, Tyler R. Heyl, Zhe Qiang, Jeremy M. Beebe, Dongchan Ahn, Shane Mangold, Kenneth R. Shull*, Muzhou Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We investigated polydimethylsiloxane/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PDMS/PMMA) interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) by both sequential and simultaneous syntheses. In the sequential IPN, the PDMS network was first thermally cured after which methyl methacrylate was swelled in and UV photopolymerized in situ. The simultaneous IPN consists of a one-pot, single-step UV cure of both components. Pure shear fracture and tensile tests were used to extract the Young's modulus, critical fracture strain, and fracture energy of the materials at varying PMMA fractions (up to 50 wt %). At high PMMA fractions, a maximum increase in Young's modulus (42×) and fracture energy (21×) was observed with little sacrifice in the optical properties and the extensibility of notched samples. The Krieger-Dougherty model for particle reinforcement was fit to the modulus data as a function of the PMMA fraction and showed good agreement. The optical properties and microstructure of the IPNs were investigated by UV-visible light transmission, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). As the weight fraction of PMMA increased, the simultaneous IPN became less transparent, while the sequential material showed the opposite trend. In the sequential IPN, the minority phase size decreased with increasing PMMA fraction, while it was constant for the simultaneous IPN. Therefore, it was concluded that the sequential IPN transparency is controlled by the size of the PMMA domains, but the simultaneous IPN transparency is controlled by the PMMA fraction. SAXS and AFM also showed evidence of bicontinuous network formation in the simultaneous IPN, which may affect the optical and mechanical properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44125-44136
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 30 2020


  • IPN
  • PDMS
  • SAXS
  • bicontinuous
  • elastomer
  • fracture
  • toughness
  • transparent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)


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