Association and formation of reversible bonds significantly modifies the dynamics and rheology of polymers. In spite of numerous experimental studies there was no fundamental understanding of these important systems. We developed a quantitative theory of both thermodynamics (in the case of solutions) and dynamics of both unentangled and entangled reversible networks and gels. These models take into account both traditional polymer dynamics and the effects caused by breaking and reformation of reversible bonds we called “stickers”. The sticky reptation model describes how entangled polymers with reversible bonds reptate through solutions and melts.This theory is currently used by many researchers assisting them in the design of reversible gels and elastomers. We have extended the theory to describe the unique self-healing properties of reversible polymer networks.
We are working on the theory of interpenetrating elastomers and gels containing both permanent and reversible components. We are studying the swelling and de-swelling kinetics of permanent and reversible networks both experimentally and theoretically.
- “Dynamics of Entangled Solutions of Associating Polymers” by M. Rubinstein and A. N. Semenov, Macromolecules 34, 1058-1068 (2001).
- “Thermoreversible Gelation in Solutions of Associative Polymers. 1. Statics” by A. N. Semenov and M. Rubinstein, Macromolecules 31, 1373-1385 (1998).
- “Thermoreversible Gelation in Solutions of Associative Polymers. 2. Linear Dynamics” by M. Rubinstein and A. N. Semenov, Macromolecules 31, 1386-1397 (1998).
- “Dynamics of Reversible Networks” by L. Leibler, M. Rubinstein, and R. H. Colby, Macromolecules 24, 4701-4707 (1991).