The dynamic behavior of water molecules and polymer chains in a hydrated poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) matrix containing a small amount of water molecules was investigated. Water molecules have been widely recognized as plasticizers for activating the segmental motion of polymer chains owing to their ability to reduce the glass transition temperature. In this study, combined with judicious hydrogen/deuterium labeling, we conducted quasi-elastic neutron scattering (QENS) experiments on PMMA for its dry and hydrated states. Our results clearly indicate that the dynamics of hydrated polymer chains are accelerated, and that individual water molecules are slower than bulk water. It is therefore suggested that the hydration water affects the local motion of PMMA and activates the local relaxation process known as restricted rotation, which is widely accepted to be generally insensitive to changes in the microenvironment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes