The solid-state structure-property behavior of highly branched segmented poly(urethane urea) (PUU) copolymers and their linear analog was investigated. A limited study of their solution rheological behavior was also undertaken. The linear PUUs were synthesized by the two-step prepolymer method, whereas the oligomeric A2+B3 methodology was utilized to synthesize the highly branched materials. The soft segments (SS) were either poly(tetramethylene oxide) (PTMO) or poly(propylene oxide) (PPO). All copolymers utilized in this study, with one exception, contained 28 wt% hard segment (HS) content. DMA, SAXS, and AFM studies indicated that the linear as well as the highly branched PUUs were microphase separated. The SS Tg of the highly branched PUUs was nearly identical to that of their respective linear analogs. However, the linear copolymers exhibited broader and less temperature sensitive rubbery plateaus, both attributed to one or both of two reasons. The first is better hydrogen bonding organization of the HS phase as well as greater HS lengths than in the highly branched analogs. The second parameter is that of a potentially higher chain entanglement for the linear systems relative to the branched analogs. Tapping-mode AFM phase images confirmed the microphase morphology indicated by SAXS and DMA. Ambient temperature strain-induced crystallization was observed in the PUU based on PTMO 2040 g/mol at a uniaxial strain of ca. 400%, irrespective of the chain architecture. Stress-strain, stress relaxation, and mechanical hysteresis of the highly branched copolymers were in general slightly poorer than that of their linear analogs. Ambient temperature solution viscosity of the highly branched materials in dimethyl formamide was substantially lower that that of the linear samples of nearly equal molecular weight.
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