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  1. Nanocomposites integrate functional nanofillers into viscoelastic matrices for electronics, lightweight structural materials, and tissue engineering. Herein, the effect of methacrylate-functionalized (MA-SiO 2 ) and vinyl-functionalized (V-SiO 2 ) silica nanoparticles on the thermal, mechanical, physical, and morphological characteristics of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) nanocomposites was investigated. The gel fraction of V-SiO 2 composites decreases upon addition of 3.8 wt% but increases with further addition (>7.4 wt%) until it reaches a plateau at 10.7 wt%. The MA-SiO 2 induced no significant changes in gel fraction and both V-SiO 2 and MA-SiO 2 nanoparticles had a negligible impact on the nanocomposite glass transition temperature and water absorption. The Young's modulus and ultimate compressive stress increased with increasing nanoparticle concentration for both nanoparticles. Due to the higher crosslink density, MA-SiO 2 composites reached a maximum mechanical stress at a concentration of 7.4 wt%, while V-SiO 2 composites reached a maximum at a concentration of 10.7 wt%. Scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering revealed a bimodal size distribution for V-SiO 2 and a monomodal size distribution for MA-SiO 2 . Although aggregates were observed for both nanoparticle surface treatments, V-SiO 2 dispersion was poor while MA-SiO 2 were generally well-dispersed. These findings lay the framework for silica nanofillers in PEG-based nanocomposites for advanced manufacturing applications. 
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  2. ABSTRACT

    The effects of incorporating metal‐binding ligands as chain extenders in polyurethane elastomers were investigated. Segmented polyurethanes based on 2 kDa poly(tetramethylene oxide) (PTMO) and 4,4‐methylenebis(cyclohexyl isocyanate) were polymerized using a two‐step process in which 2,6‐bis(1‐ethyl‐5‐(methoxymethyl)‐1H‐benzo[d]imidazol‐2‐yl)pyridine was added as a chain extender. The resulting polyurethanes were then metallated using stoichiometric amounts of Zn(II) metal salts with different counterions. The resulting metallopolymers have substantially improved Young's moduli, increased failure stress, and improved thermomechanical behavior. The materials were microphase‐separated into anisotropic hard domains within a PTMO matrix. Simultaneous small‐angle X‐ray scattering and tensile testing revealed the minority hard segment domains remain relatively intact during elongation, likely due to the strength of the metal–ligand complex. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys.2019, 57, 1744–1757

     
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