n-Butyl acrylate-based zwitterionomers and ionomers containing 3-[[2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl](dimethyl)ammonio]-1-propanesulfonate (SBMA) and 2-[butyl(dimethyl)amino]ethyl methacrylate methanesulfonate (BDMAEMA MS), respectively, were synthesized using conventional free radical polymerization. Size-exclusion chromatography confirmed the molecular weights of the copolymers exceeded the critical molecular weight between entanglements (Me) for poly(n-butyl acrylate). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) revealed that zwitterionomers promoted more well-defined microphase separation than cationic analogues. Dynamic mechanical analyses (DMA) of the copolymers showed a rubbery plateau region due to physical cross-links between charges for zwitterionomers only. Since SBMA and BDMAEMA MS have very similar chemical structures, we attributed improved microphase separation and superior elastomeric performance of the zwitterionomers to stronger association between covalently tethered charged pairs.
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