(381d) High Viscosity Polymer Gels Derived from Block Copolymer Nanocomposites

Here we report the synthesis and characterization of high viscosity nanocomposite polymer gels (NC gels) formed via highly exfoliated block copolymer nanocomposites dissolved in an organic solvent along with an ionic salt. Poly(ethylidene norbornene-b-cyclopentene) nanocomposites synthesized via surface initiated Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization (ROMP) using functionalized montmorillonite (MMT) clay were used to form NC gels. These nanocomposites, when dissolved in tetrahydrofuran solvent along with an ionic salt (for example NaCl) resulted in very high viscosity NC gels. NC gels formed with nanocomposite loading as low as 0.75 wt% showed measured viscosities in the range of 100 Pa.s at room temperature. Morphological characterization of three-dimensional network of NC gels was conducted via TEM. Mechanical properties of NC gels formed with different nanocomposite and ionic salt loadings were characterized via rheological measurements.