Joints that connect thermoplastic polymer matrices (TPMs) and metals, which are obtained by comolding, are of growing importance in numerous applications. The overall performance of these constructs is strongly impacted by the TPM-metal interfacial strength, which can be tuned by tailoring the surface chemistry of the metal prior to the comolding process. In the present work, a model TPM-metal system consisting of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and titanium is used to prepare comolded joints. The interfacial adhesion is quantified by wire pullout experiments. Pullout tests prior to and following surface modification are performed and analyzed. Unmodified wires show poor interfacial strength, with a work of adhesion (Ga) value of 3.8 J m-2. To enhance interfacial adhesion, a biomimetic polydopamine (PDA) layer is first deposited on titanium followed by a second layer of a poly(methyl methacrylate-co-methacrylic acid) (P(MMA-co-MAA)) copolymer prior to comolding. During processing, the MAA moieties of the copolymer thermally react with PDA, forming amide bonds, while MMA promotes the formation of secondary bonds and molecular interdigitation with the PMMA matrix. Control testing reveals that neither PDA nor the copolymer provides a substantial increase in adhesion. However, when used in combination, a significant increase in adhesion is detected. This observation indicates a pronounced synergistic effect between the two layers that strengthens the PMMA-titanium bonding. Enhanced adhesion is optimized by tuning the MMA-to-MAA ratio of the copolymer, which shows a maximum at a 24% MAA content and a greatly increased Ga value of 155 J m-2 this value corresponds to a 40-fold increase. Further growth in the Ga values at higher MAA contents is hindered by the thermal cross-linking of MAA; MAA contents above 24% restrict the formation of secondary bonds and molecular interdigitation with the PMMA chains. Our results provide new design principles to produce thermoplastic-metal comolded joints with strong interfaces.
- polymer-metal adhesion
- polymer-metal joint