Abstract

Double network elastomers are formed by twice-curing rubber, the second time while the material is deformed. When measured parallel to the curing deformation, the equilibrium modulus of a double network exceeds that of an isotropic elastomer of equal crosslink density. This difference increases with increasing strain. Despite the higher modulus, the mechanical fatigue lifetimes of double networks of natural rubber were found to be as much as a factor of ten higher than for the conventionally crosslinked rubber. The double network’s tensile strength, on the other hand, was slightly lower. Such results suggest that the conventional compromise between modulus and failure properties can be circumvented using double network rubbers. Their utilization can yield elastomers of better mechanical properties.

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