Studies on polyurethane adhesives and surface modification of hydrophobic substrates
This thesis work deals with (a) Curing of reactive, hot-melt polyurethane adhesives and (b) Adsorption studies using different interactions. Research on polyurethanes involves characterization of polyurethane prepolymers and a novel mechanism to cure isocyanate-terminated polyurethane prepolymer by a "trigger" mechanism. Curing of isocyanate-terminated polyurethane prepolymers has been shown to be influenced by morphology and environmental conditions such as temperature and relative humidity. Although the initial composition, final morphology and curing kinetics are known, information regarding the intermediate prepolymer mixture is yet to be established. Polyurethane prepolymers prepared by the reaction of diisocyanates with the primary hydroxyls of polyester diol (PHMA) and secondary hydroxyls of polyether diol (PPG) were characterized. The morphology and crystallization kinetics of a polyurethane prepolymer was compared with a blend of PPG prepolymer (the product obtained by the reaction of PPG with diisocyanate) and a PHMA prepolymer (the product obtained by the reaction of PHMA with diisocyanate) to study the effect of copolymer formed in the polyurethane prepolymer on the above-mentioned properties.
Although the morphology of the polyurethane prepolymer is determined in the first few minutes of application, the chemical curing of isocyanate-terminated prepolymer occurs over hours to days. In the literature, different techniques are described to follow the curing kinetics. But there is no established technique to control the curing of polyurethane prepolymer. To make the curing process independent of environmental factors, a novel approach using a trigger mechanism was designed and implemented by using ammonium salts as curing agents. Ammonium salts that are stable at room temperature but decompose on heating to yield active hydrogen-containing compounds, NH3 and H2O, were used as 'Trojan horses' to cure the prepolymer chemically.
Research on adsorption studies involved making functionalized, thickness-controlled, wettability-controlled multilayers on hydrophobic substrates and the adsorption of carboxylic acid-terminated poly(styrene-b-isoprene) on alumina/silica substrates. Poly(vinyl alcohol) has been shown to adsorb onto hydrophobic surfaces irreversibly due to hydrophobic interactions. This thin semicrystalline coating is chemically modified using acid chlorides, butyl isocyanate and butanal to form thicker and hydrophobic coatings. The products of the modification reactions allow adsorption of a subsequent layer of poly(vinyl alcohol) that could subsequently be hydrophobized. This 2-step (adsorption/chemical modification) allows layer-by-layer deposition to prepare coatings with thickness, chemical structure and wettability control on any hydrophobic surface.
Research on adsorption characteristics of carboxylic acid-terminated poly(styrene-b-isoprene) involved syntheses of block copolymers with the functional group present at specific ends. Comparative adsorption studies for carboxylic acid-terminated and hydrogen-terminated block copolymers was carried out on alumina and silica substrates.