IPNs are high performance, hybrid polymers, complex in structure, but simple in principle: IPNs build on the desirable properties of well-known polymers, while formulating out , to the extent possible, their poor, undesirable properties. For example, epoxies are good in adhesion, but poor in UV resistance, so they chalk and they are usually brittle. Polyurethanes, on the other hand, are flexible, but they suffer the drawback of hydrolysis, which allows water ingression over time, causing blisters. Acrylics are great against UV and they cure fast, but they cannot bond to wet surfaces well and they suffer from shrinkage, flammability, and objectionable odor problems…. Polyesters shrink a lot and other polymers have similar shortcomings. IPNs seek to build polymeric backbones, which may get their adhesion from epoxies, flexibility from urethanes, UV resistance from acrylics, and so on, while leaving out the poor properties of these polymers.
Dates back to early 1970s, when the founder of IPI was one of the investigators. Application of the IPNs to the coatings technology was pioneered by IPI in mid to late 1980s. Evolving from early work on monomer/oligomer/polymer syrups into full-scale cross-linked, hybrid networks, IPNs matured into reliable industrial solutions in the 1990s using commercially available chemicals as starting points. The 2000s are poised to reap the benefits of earlier work on these solventless, environmentally friendly commercial aerospace materials. Topics like what kind of starting chemicals are used, what kind of IPNs are built from them, and how this whole process of ratios works are closely guarded trade secrets.
Conventional polymers like epoxies, urethanes, acrylics, polyesters, silicones, siloxanes, coal tar epoxies, butyl rubber, vinyl, polysulfides, polythioethers, furanes, and many others all have their advantages and disadvantages. However, in the end, they all seem to fall short of expectations for one reason or another. IPN commercial products, on the other hand, provide in-place, instant, and permanent solutions, offering heretofore unimaginable alternatives to conventional polymers.
Many different kinds of IPNs, since 1985, such as adhesives, sealants, coatings, conductive fillers, fairing compounds, and gap fillers, adhesion promoters, primers, matrix resins, and more. These are used in construction, repair, maintenance, and operation of manmade assets. These may be one, two, or three component materials in liquid, paste, or powder form. The end user mixes the components when and where needed to create a precise IPN with tailored mechanical and chemical properties to solve a specific problem.
Due to the fact that high-performance IPNs have zero VOC, produce zero waste, are environmentally safe, and ecologically friendly, IPN commercial products offer convenient applications, easy buildup, and fast cure at ambient temperature; stay on indefinitely; and repairs itself if needed.
No solvent means no flammability , which in turn, means no fire or explosion risks… No objectionable odors or health concerns related to evaporating solvent fumes. Therefore, no masks, cumbersome breathing apparatus, or expensive “space suits” required during the application. No air pollutants, therefore no AQMD worries. Drastically reduced transportation, storage, and handling costs. Clean and eco-friendly application.
Due to IPNs’ unique ability to move with substrates in thermal cycling (day/night, winter/summer, hot/cold cycles), fewer stresses are built into the polymeric network to begin with. What little stresses generated upon thermal cycling, are quickly relieved through re-orientation of the cross-linked polymeric network.
Due to IPNs’ tightly cross-linked and toughened polymeric network, environmental elements like moisture, water, thermal cycling, UV, IR, and others do little or no harm to IPNs.
Chemical, as well as physical bonding. That means, a permanent and strong covalent bond (i.e. shared atomic bridge) is established between IPN and substrate along with mechanical interlocking.
Means no internal stresses built in during the curing process, thus extending the service life of the IPNs…
In storage, handling, application, curing, service, and maintenance… Solvent-free IPNs are and also stable during storage. IPNs take the hidden costs out of operations. For example, most IPNs are not affected by inclement weather conditions during storage or application. If components dry up after long periods of storage, simple warming up will re-liquefy IPNs.
IPNs’ repair methodologies are built on sound engineering principles and tested thoroughly in field for decades… This unique treasure chest of application information is available to all IPI-customers.