Self-healing coatings based on thiol-ene chemistry

Van den Dungen, Eric T. A. (2009-03)

Thesis (PhD (Chemistry and Polymer Science)--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The work presented in this dissertation describes the development of self-healing coatings based on thiol-ene chemistry. The approach was to synthesize capsules with thiol and ene compounds separately encapsulated. These capsules were embedded in various coating formulations and upon the formation of a crack with a razor blade, these capsules ruptured. This caused the healing agent to flow into the crack via capillary action and the thiol-ene healing mechanism was initiated. This resulted in recovery of the damaged coating and provided continued protection to the substrate. Pentaerythritol tetrakis(3-mercaptopropionate) (TetraThiol), 1,6-hexanediol diacrylate (DiAcrylate) and 1,6-hexanediol di-(endo, exo-norborn-2-ene-5-carboxylate) (DiNorbornene) are the thiol and ene compounds used in this study. Kinetic experiments indicated that both TetraThiol-DiAcrylate and TetraThiol-DiNorbornene monomer pairs undergo rapid polymerization and form a network within minutes upon exposure to UV radiation and with the addition of a photoinitiator. The TetraThiol-DiNorbornene monomer pair also showed a high rate of polymerization without the addition of a photoinitiator and/or exposure to UV radiation. Styrene-maleic anhydride (SMA) copolymers and chain-extended block copolymers with styrene (P[(Sty-alt-MAh)-b-Sty]) were synthesized via Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT)- mediated polymerization. These copolymers were used as surfactant in miniemulsification for the synthesis of core-shell particles with TetraThiol as the core material. It appeared that P[(Sty-alt-MAh)-b-Sty] block copolymers, sterically stabilized via the addition of formaldehyde, provide optimal stability to the core-shell particles. DiNorbornene is encapsulated via miniemulsion homopolymerization of styrene and well-defined, stable nanocapsules were obtained. TetraThiol and DiAcrylate microcapsules were synthesized via in-situ polymerization of urea and formaldehyde. Microcapsules with a particle size of one to ten micrometers and with a very smooth surface were obtained. These microcapsules and nanocapsules were embedded in poly(methyl acrylate) (PMA), styrene-acrylate and pure acrylic films and the self-healing ability of these coatings, after introduction of a crack with a razor blade, was assessed.

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