The Impact of Polymerization Chemistry on the Mechanical Properties of Poly(Dimethylsiloxane) Bottlebrush Elastomers

Brandon R. Clarke, Hyemin Kim, Mark Ilton, James J. Watkins, Alfred J. Crosby, and Gregory N. Tew

Macromolecules 55 (2022) 10312-10319


We compare the low-strain mechanical properties of bottlebrush elastomers (BBEs) synthesized using ring-opening metathesis and free radical polymerization. Through comparison of experimentally measured elastic moduli and those predicted by an ideal, affine model, we evaluate the efficiency of our networks in forming stress-supporting strands. This comparison allowed us to develop a structural efficiency ratio that facilitates the prediction of mechanical properties relative to polymerization chemistry (e.g., softer BBEs when polymerizing under dilute conditions). This work highlights the impact that polymerization chemistry has on the structural efficiency ratio and the resultant mechanical properties of BBEs with identical side chains, providing another “knob” by which to control polymer network properties.