Reactive & Functional Polymers, Vol.134, 85-92, 2019
Step-growth production of nanogels for use as macromers with dimethacrylate monomers
A series of functional nanogels were synthesized by a step-growth mechanism that involved diisocyanate addition to a modest stoichiometric excess of multi-thiols. Nanogels with sizes < 10 nm were obtained as room temperature liquids with residual thiol groups used to attach methacrylate functionality. Depending on nanogel structure, bulk nanogel properties varied widely, as did the properties of the nanogel-derived and nanogelmodified polymers. Photopolymerization of the reactive nanogels in combination with a dimethacrylate monomer showed dramatically enhanced reaction rate and conversion compared with the dimethacrylate homopolymer. Polymerization shrinkage/ stress as well as mechanical properties of the polymer networks were controlled by changing the ratio of nanogels and dimethacrylate monomers used in formulations. Thus, this study shows the potential of step-growth nanogels for beneficial changes in resin reactivity and application-based performance.