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Interpenetrating Polymer Networks

SpecialChem / Edward M. Petrie – Nov 17, 2010

This article describes the properties of interpenetrating polymeric networks in general and how they are developed and characterized. The article also focuses on how IPN technology can be used to enhance adhesive systems. Recent research and development activity in this area is described. Interpenetrating polymer networks (IPN) are a special type of polymeric blend that has been the subject of extensive study since their advent in the 1960s. With these materials, two or more polymers are combined so that they independently polymerize in the immediate presence of one another. The final properties of an IPN are dependent on the composition of the two networks, as well as the polymerization mechanisms and kinetics of each network. Today, IPNs are primarily utilized to manufacture tough thermoplastics with special properties such as vibration and noise damping. Of particular interest are the mechanical enhancements observed in IPN systems which exhibit nonlinear increases in fracture properties despite being composed of otherwise weak polymer.

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