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Monolithic polyurethane membranes were modified using polyethylene glycols (PEG) of varying molecular weights (Mn = 400, 3350 and 8000) to make the polymer surface hydrophilic and hence improve their comfort properties without adversely affecting their imperviousness to liquids. Infrared spectroscopy was not sensitive enough to distinguish between the PEG-treated polyurethanes leached in toluene for 72 h and the unmodified polyurethane. However, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) of the leached samples showed an increase in their C-O content over that of the unmodified material, suggesting covalent attachment of some of the PEG to the polyurethane. The leached PEG-treated samples exhibited lower contact angles with water than the unmodified material. The higher molecular weight glycol-treated samples were subject to swelling in water. Scanning electron microscopy showed no differences in the surface morphologies of treated versus untreated materials.
monolithic, polyurethane, polyethylene glycol, modification, water vapor transmission, hydrophilic, barrier, comfort
Research Associate, International Paper Company, Erie, PA
Professor, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY