US20110159991A1 - Golf ball composition - Google Patents

Golf ball composition Download PDF

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US20110159991A1
US20110159991A1 US12980552 US98055210A US2011159991A1 US 20110159991 A1 US20110159991 A1 US 20110159991A1 US 12980552 US12980552 US 12980552 US 98055210 A US98055210 A US 98055210A US 2011159991 A1 US2011159991 A1 US 2011159991A1
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golf ball
rubber
styrene
ethylene
group
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US12980552
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Hyun J. Kim
Hong G. Jeon
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adidas-Salomon (USA) Inc
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adidas-Salomon (USA) Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0023Covers
    • A63B37/0024Materials other than ionomers or polyurethane
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/0023Covers
    • A63B37/0029Physical properties
    • A63B37/0031Hardness
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/005Cores
    • A63B37/0051Special materials other than polybutadienes; Special construction
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/005Cores
    • A63B37/006Physical properties
    • A63B37/0062Hardness
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/0003Golf balls
    • A63B37/007Characteristics of the ball as a whole
    • A63B37/0077Physical properties
    • A63B37/0086Flexural modulus
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A63SPORTS; GAMES; AMUSEMENTS
    • A63BAPPARATUS FOR PHYSICAL TRAINING, GYMNASTICS, SWIMMING, CLIMBING, OR FENCING; BALL GAMES; TRAINING EQUIPMENT
    • A63B37/00Solid balls; Rigid hollow balls; Marbles
    • A63B37/12Special coverings, i.e. outer layer material

Abstract

Disclosed embodiments concern a golf ball comprising a core comprising a center, an outer cover layer, and optionally one or more intermediate layers. One or more of the core, outer cover layer or one or more intermediate layers includes a blend composition including from about 85 to about 99 wt % of a block copolymer and from about 1 to about 15 wt % (based on the final weight of the blend) of one or more modifying agents including amino acids, aminotriazines, dicyandiamides and polyamines and any of their combinations.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
  • This application claims the benefit of the earlier filing date of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/291,508, filed on Dec. 31, 2009, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • FIELD
  • The present disclosure relates to sports equipment in general and more particularly to golf balls comprising a modified block copolymer composition. In one embodiment, the presently described modified block copolymer composition is used in the manufacture of a golf ball comprising a core, a cover layer and, optionally, one or more inner cover layers. In one embodiment, a golf ball is disclosed in which the outer cover layer comprises the modified block copolymer composition. In another embodiment, a golf ball is disclosed in which at least one intermediate layer comprises the modified block copolymer composition. In another embodiment, a golf ball is disclosed in which the core comprises the modified block copolymer composition.
  • DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART
  • The application of synthetic polymer chemistry to the field of sports equipment has revolutionized the performance of athletes in many sports. One sport in which this is particularly true is golf, especially as relates to advances in golf ball performance and ease of manufacture. For instance, the earliest golf balls consisted of a leather cover filled with wet feathers. These “feathery” golf balls were subsequently replaced with a single piece golf ball made from “gutta percha,” a naturally occurring rubber-like material. In the early 1900's, the wound rubber ball was introduced, consisting of a solid rubber core around which rubber thread was tightly wound with a gutta percha cover.
  • More modern golf balls can be classified as one-piece, two-piece, three-piece or multi-layered golf balls. One-piece balls are molded from a homogeneous mass of material with a dimple pattern molded thereon. One-piece balls are inexpensive and very durable, but do not provide great distance because of relatively high spin and low velocity. Two-piece balls are made by molding a cover around a solid rubber core. These are the most popular types of balls in use today. In attempts to further modify the ball performance especially in terms of the distance such balls travel and the feel transmitted to the golfer through the club on striking the ball, the basic two-piece ball construction has been further modified by the introduction of additional layers between the core and outer cover layer. If one additional layer is introduced between the core and outer cover layer a so called “three-piece ball” results and similarly, if two additional layers are introduced between the core and outer cover layer, a so called “four-piece ball” results, and so on.
  • Modern golf ball covers were previously made from balata rubber, which was favored by some players because the softness of the cover allows them to achieve spin rates sufficient to allow more precisely control of ball direction and distance, particularly on shorter approach shots. However balata-covered balls, although exhibiting high spin and soft feel, were often deficient in terms of the velocity of the ball when it leaves the club face which in turn affects the distance the ball travels. This distance is directly related to the coefficient of restitution (“C.O.R.”) of the ball. In a multi-layered golf ball, the coefficient of restitution is a function of the properties of the core, the cover and any additional layer. While there are no United States Golf Association (“USGA”) limitations on the coefficient of restitution values of a golf ball, the USGA requires that the golf ball cannot exceed an initial velocity of 255 feet/second. As a result, golf ball manufacturers generally seek to maximize the coefficient of restitution of a ball without exceeding the velocity limitation.
  • Accordingly, a variety of golf ball constructions have been developed in an attempt to provide spin rates and a feel approaching those of balata covered balls, while also providing a golf ball with a higher durability and overall distance. This has resulted in the emergence of balls, which have a solid rubber core, a cover, and one, or more so called intermediate layers, as well as the application of new materials to each of these components.
  • One elastomeric material that provides for good performance when used in making ball cores, outer covers and intermediate layers is a block copolymer, especially those having a first polymer block comprising an aromatic vinyl compound, and a second polymer block comprising a diene compound. Such block copolymers can be used as the single component of a core, cover or intermediate layer but can also be used as a blend component with other polymers to yield the desired performance properties. However, it has been observed that layers incorporating these block copolymers can suffer from cracks after being hit during play. During endurance testing of balls having covers incorporating block copolymers, crack initiation and propagation was observed in the covers. This cracking leads to substantial deterioration in ball performance and long-term durability. These cracks also can initiate in an intermediate layer and subsequently propagate to a cover. Additionally, shear-cut resistance in the covers needs to be further improved for optimal performance.
  • SUMMARY
  • In view of the above, it is apparent that golf ball cover and intermediate layers are needed that allow the optimization of golf ball performance properties by incorporating block copolymers into the layers, while eliminating or reducing formation of cracks in the covers and intermediate layers and improving the shear resistance of the layers. The ball layers also should provide little or no processing and preparation difficulties beyond that provided by present layers. We have now surprisingly found that the durability of such block copolymers either in a single composition or in their blend compositions can be improved by adding selected modifiers, including amino acids, aminotriazines, dicyandiamides and polyamines, to form a modified block copolymer composition (“MBC”).
  • An especially preferred modifier used to form the MBC is a compound having the general formula:

  • (R2N)m—R′—(X(O)n(OR)y)m,
  • where R is hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic group; R′ is a bridging group comprising one or more C1-C20 straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, or substituted straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, or aromatic groups, or an oligomer of up to 12 repeating units including, but not limited to, polypeptides derived from an amino acid sequence of up to 12 amino acids; and X is C or S or P with the proviso that when X=C, n=1 and y=1 and when X=S, n=2 and y=1, and when X=P, n=0-1 and y=2 or 4, and m=1-3.
  • Certain disclosed embodiments of the present invention concern a golf ball having a core comprising a center; an outer cover layer; and optionally one or more intermediate layers; and where one or more of the core, outer cover layer or one or more intermediate layers includes a blend composition which includes from about 85 to about 99 wt % of a block copolymer and from about 1 to about 15 wt % (based on the final weight of the blend) of one or more modifying agents selected from the group consisting of amino acids, aminotriazines, dicyandiamides and polyamines; either alone or in combination.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a three-piece golf ball 1 comprising a solid center or core 2, an intermediate layer 3, and an outer cover layer 4.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a 4-piece golf ball 1 comprising a core 2, and an outer cover layer 5, an inner intermediate layer 3, and an outer intermediate layer 4.
  • Although FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate only three- and four-piece golf ball constructions, golf balls of the present invention may comprise from 1 to at least 5 intermediate layer(s), preferably from 1 to 3 intermediate layer(s), more preferably from 1 to 2 intermediate layer(s).
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION I. Definitions
  • Any numerical values recited herein include all values from the lower value to the upper value in increments of one unit provided that there is a separation of at least 2 units between any lower value and any higher value. As an example, if it is stated that the amount of a component or a value of a process variable is from 1 to 90, preferably from 20 to 80, more preferably from 30 to 70, it is intended that values such as 15 to 85, 22 to 68, 43 to 51, 30 to 32 etc. are expressly enumerated in this specification. For values, which have less than one unit difference, one unit is considered to be 0.1, 0.01, 0.001, or 0.0001 as appropriate. Thus all possible combinations of numerical values between the lowest value and the highest value enumerated herein are said to be expressly stated in this application.
  • The term “aliphatic” is intended to mean any open or closed chain molecule, excluding aromatic compounds, containing only carbon and hydrogen atoms which are joined by single bonds (alkanes), double bonds (alkenes), or triple bonds (alkynes). This term encompasses substituted aliphatic compounds, saturated aliphatic compounds, and unsaturated aliphatic compounds.
  • The terms “aromatic” and “aryl” refer to a substantially hydrocarbon-based aromatic compound, or a radical thereof (e.g. C6H5) as a substituent bonded to another group, particularly other organic groups, having a ring structure as exemplified by benzene, naphthalene, phenanthrene, anthracene, etc.
  • The terms “alicyclic” and “cycloaliphatic” refer to aliphatic compounds wherein carbon atoms are connected in a ring instead of a chain.
  • The term “(meth)acrylic acid copolymers” is intended to mean copolymers of methacrylic acid and/or acrylic acid.
  • The term “(meth)acrylate” is intended to mean an ester of methacrylic acid and/or acrylic acid.
  • The term “partially neutralized” is intended to mean an ionomer with a degree of neutralization of the acid groups in the polymer of less than 100 percent.
  • The term “hydrocarbyl” is intended to mean any aliphatic, cycloaliphatic, aromatic, aryl substituted aliphatic, aryl substituted cycloaliphatic, aliphatic substituted aromatic, or cycloaliphatic substituted aromatic groups. The aliphatic or cycloaliphatic groups are preferably saturated. Likewise, the term “hydrocarbyloxy” means a hydrocarbyl group having an oxygen linkage between it and the carbon atom to which it is attached.
  • As used herein, a “blend composition” can be a physical mixture of the individual components and/or a reaction product produced by a reaction between one or more of the individual components.
  • As used herein, the term “block copolymer” is intended to mean a polymer comprising two or more homopolymer subunits linked by covalent bonds. The union of the homopolymer subunits may require an intermediate non-repeating subunit, known as a junction block. Block copolymers with two or three distinct blocks are called diblock copolymers and triblock copolymers, respectively.
  • As used herein, the term “core” is intended to mean the elastic center of a golf ball. The core may have one or more “core layers” of elastic material, which are usually made of rubbery material such as diene rubbers.
  • The term “cover layer” is intended to mean the outermost layer of the golf ball; this is the layer that is directly in contact with paint and/or ink on the surface of the golf ball. If the cover consists of two or more layers, only the outermost layer is designated the cover layer, and the remaining layers (excluding the outermost layer) are commonly designated intermediate layers as herein defined. The term “outer cover layer” as used herein is used interchangeably with the term “cover layer.”
  • The term “intermediate layer” may be used interchangeably herein with the terms “mantle layer” or “inner cover layer” and is intended to mean any layer(s) in a golf ball disposed between the core and the outer cover layer. Should a ball have more than one intermediate layer, these may be distinguished as “inner intermediate” or “inner mantle” layers which are used interchangeably to refer to the intermediate layer nearer the core and further from the outer cover, as opposed to the “outer intermediate” or “outer mantle layer” which are also used interchangeably to refer to the intermediate layer further from the core and closer to the outer cover.
  • The term “prepolymer” as used herein is intended to mean any material that can be further processed to form a final polymer material of a manufactured golf ball, such as, by way of example and not limitation, a polymerized or partially polymerized material that can undergo additional processing, such as crosslinking.
  • A “thermoplastic” as used herein is intended to mean a material that is capable of softening or melting when heated and of hardening again when cooled. Thermoplastic polymer chains often are not cross-linked or are lightly crosslinked using a chain extender, but the term “thermoplastic” as used herein may refer to materials that initially act as thermoplastics, such as during an initial extrusion process or injection molding process, but which also may be crosslinked, such as during a compression molding step to form a final structure.
  • A “thermoset” as used herein is intended to mean a material that crosslinks or cures via interaction with as crosslinking or curing agent. Crosslinking may be induced by energy, such as heat (generally above 200° C.), through a chemical reaction (by reaction with a curing agent), or by irradiation. The resulting composition remains rigid when set, and does not soften with heating. Thermosets have this property because the long-chain polymer molecules cross-link with each other to give a rigid structure. A thermoset material cannot be melted and re-molded after it is cured. Thus thermosets do not lend themselves to recycling unlike thermoplastics, which can be melted and re-molded.
  • The term “thermoplastic polyurethane” as used herein is intended to mean a material prepared by reaction of a prepared by reaction of a diisocyanate with a polyol, and optionally addition of a chain extender.
  • The term “thermoplastic polyurea” as used herein is intended to mean a material prepared by reaction of a prepared by reaction of a diisocyanate with a polyamine, with optionally addition of a chain extender.
  • The term “thermoset polyurethane” as used herein is intended to mean a material prepared by reaction of a diisocyanate with a polyol, and a curing agent.
  • The term “thermoset polyurea” as used herein is intended to mean a material prepared by reaction of a diisocyanate with a polyamine, and a curing agent.
  • A “urethane prepolymer” as used herein is intended to mean the reaction product of diisocyanate and a polyol.
  • A “urea prepolymer” as used herein is intended to mean the reaction product of a diisocyanate and a polyamine.
  • The term “zwitterion” as used herein is intended to mean a form of the compound having both a positively charged species or functional group and a negatively charged species or functional group, such as an amine group and carboxylic acid group, Component (B), where both are charged and where the net charge on the compound is neutral.
  • The term “bimodal polymer” refers to a polymer comprising two main fractions and more specifically to the form of the polymers molecular weight distribution curve, i.e., the appearance of the graph of the polymer weight fraction as function of its molecular weight. When the molecular weight distribution curves from these fractions are superimposed into the molecular weight distribution curve for the total resulting polymer product, that curve will show two maxima or at least be distinctly broadened in comparison with the curves for the individual fractions. Such a polymer product is called bimodal. It is to be noted here that also the chemical compositions of the two fractions may be different.
  • Similarly the term “unimodal polymer” refers to a polymer comprising one main fraction and more specifically to the form of the polymers molecular weight distribution curve, i.e., the molecular weight distribution curve for the total polymer product shows only a single maximum.
  • The term “sports equipment” refers to any item of sports equipments such as sports clothing, boots, sneakers, clogs, sandals, slip on sandals and shoes, golf shoes, tennis shoes, running shoes, athletic shoes, hiking shoes, skis, ski masks, ski boots, cycling shoes, soccer boots, golf clubs, golf bags, and the like.
  • The present invention can be used in forming golf balls of any desired size. “The Rules of Golf” by the USGA dictate that the size of a competition golf ball must be at least 1.680 inches in diameter; however, golf balls of any size can be used for leisure golf play. The preferred diameter of the golf balls is from about 1.680 inches to about 1.800 inches. The more preferred diameter is from about 1.680 inches to about 1.760 inches. A diameter of from about 1.680 inches to about 1.740 inches is most preferred; however diameters anywhere in the range of from 1.70 to about 2.0 inches can be used. Oversize golf balls with diameters above about 1.760 inches to as big as 2.75 inches are also within the scope of the invention.
  • II. Block Copolymer
  • The compositions used to make the golf balls of the present invention are the block copolymers including di- and triblock copolymers, incorporating (a) a first polymer block having an aromatic vinyl compound, and (b) a second polymer block having an olefinic and/or conjugated diene compound. Preferred aromatic vinyl compounds include styrene, α-methylstyrene, o-, m- or p-methylstyrene, 4-propylstyrene, 1,3-dimethylstyrene, vinylnaphthalene and vinylanthracene. In particular, styrene and α-methylstyrene are preferred. These aromatic vinyl compounds can each be used alone, or can be used in combination of two or more kinds. The aromatic vinyl compound is preferably contained in the block copolymer A in an amount of from 5 to 75% by weight, and more preferably from 10 to 65% by weight.
  • The conjugated diene compound, that constitutes the polymer block (b) in the block copolymer includes, but is not limited to 1,3-butadiene, isoprene, 2,3-diemthyl-1,3-butadiene, 1,3-pentadiene and 1,3-hexadiene. In particular, isoprene and 1,3-butadiene are preferred. Illustrative olefinic compounds include ethylene, propylene, and butene. These conjugated olefinic or diene compounds can each be used alone, or can be used in combination of two or more kinds.
  • Examples of such block copolymers include styrenic block copolymers including styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS), styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene, (SEBS) and styrene-ethylene/propylene-styrene (SEPS). Also included are functionalized styrenic block copolymers, including those where the block copolymer incorporates a first polymer block having an aromatic vinyl compound, a second polymer block having a conjugated diene compound and a hydroxyl group located at a block copolymers. Also included are the hydrogenation products of these block copolymers. A preferred functionalized styrenic block copolymer is SEPTON HG-252. Such block copolymers are described in more detail in commonly-assigned U.S. Pat. No. 6,861,474 and U.S. Patent Publication No. 2003/0224871, both of which are incorporated herein by reference in their entireties.
  • Commercial examples include SEPTON marketed by Kuraray Company of Kurashiki, Japan; TOPRENE by Kumho Petrochemical Co., Ltd and KRATON marketed by Kraton Polymers.
  • III. Amino Acid Modifier
  • The block copolymers are mixed with modifying agents including amino acids having both amine and acid functionality. One such modifying agent is a compound having the general formula:

  • (R2N)m—R′—(X(O)n(OR)y)m,
  • where R is hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic group; R′ is a bridging group comprising one or more C1-C20 straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, substituted straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, aromatic groups, or an oligomer of up to 12 repeating units including, but not limited to, polypeptides derived from an amino acid sequence of up to 12 amino acids; and X is C or S or P with the proviso that when X=C, n=1 and y=1 and when X=S, n=2 and y=1, and when X=P, n=0-1 and y=2 or 4, and m=1-3. These materials are more fully described in copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/182,170, filed on Jul. 14, 2005, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • Preferred examples include, but are not limited to, 11-aminoundecanoic acid, and 12-aminododecanoic acid. Also included as modifiers are 4,4′-methylene-bis-(cyclohexylamine)-carbamate (commercially available from R.T. Vanderbilt Co., Norwalk, Conn. under the tradename Diak® 4), epsilon-caprolactam; omega-caprolactam, and any and all combinations thereof.
  • IV. Aminotriazine Modifier
  • Another amine-functionalized modifying agent for the block copolymers are the aminotriazines, as disclosed in copending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/424,401, filed on Apr. 15, 2009, and now published as US 2009/0270201 A1, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • These aminotriazenes have the general formula;
  • Figure US20110159991A1-20110630-C00001
  • where R1-R5 are independently aliphatic, substituted aliphatic, alkoxy, amine, aryl, substituted aryl, heteroaryl, substituted heteroaryl groups, hydrogen or halogen. Preferred examples include but are not limited to guanamine, 6-methyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (acetoguanamine), 6-nonyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (nonylguanamine), 6-phenyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (benzoguanamine), or 2,4,6-triamino-triazine (melamine).
  • V. Dicyandiamide Modifier
  • Another amine-functionalized modifying agent for the block copolymers include the family of dicyandiamides as described in copending application Ser. No. 11/809,432 filed on May 31, 2007, by Kim et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. The dicyandiamides used in the present invention have the general formula:
  • Figure US20110159991A1-20110630-C00002
  • where R and R′ independently are hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety or substituted aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety. For example R may be H, —CH3, —C2H5, —C6H5, —CH2X, —C2H4X, —C6H4X, —CH2C6H4X, —CH2CH2C6H4X, or any and all combinations thereof, and where X may be hydrogen, a methyl group, an ethyl group, a methoxy group, an ethoxy group, an amino group and a dimethylamino group or any and all combinations thereof. Examples include but are not limited to 2-Cyanoguanidine, N-benzyldicyandiamide, N-(4-methylbenzyl)dicyandiamide, N-(4-methoxybenzyl)dicyandiamide, N-phenethyldicyandiamide; N-(4-methylphenethyl)dicyandiamide; and N-(4-methoxyphenethyl)dicyandiamide. Also included are the dicyandiamide derivatives disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,620,831 by Osamu Kewana issuing on 15 April, 1997, the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference.
  • A preferred dicyandiamide is 2-Cyanoguanidine which may be commercially acquired from Degussa AG under the trade name Dyhard®.
  • VI. Polyamines
  • Another amine-functionalized modifying agent for the block copolymers are the various polyamines. These include primary, secondary and tertiary amines having two or more amines as functional groups. Exemplary diamines include aliphatic diamines, such as tetramethylenediamine, pentamethylenediamine, hexamethylenediamine; alicyclic diamines, such as 3,3′-dimethyl-4,4′-diamino-dicyclohexyl methane, bis(1,3-aminomethyl)cyclohexane (BAC); or aromatic diamines, such as diethyl-2,4-toluenediamine-4,4″-methylenebis-(3-chloro,2,6-diethyl)-aniline (available from Air Products and Chemicals Inc., of Allentown, Pa., under the trade name LONZACURE®), 3,3′-dichlorobenzidene; 3,3′-dichloro-4,4′-diaminodiphenyl methane (MOCA); N,N,N′,N′-tetrakis(2-hydroxypropyl)-ethylenediamine, 3,5-dimethylthio-2,4-toluenediamine; 3,5-dimethylthio-2,6-toluenediamine; N,N′-dialkyldiamino diphenyl methane; trimethylene-glycol-di-p-aminobenzoate; polytetramethyleneoxide-di-p-aminobenzoate, 4,4′-methylene bis-2-chloroaniline, 2,2′,3,3′-tetrachloro-4,4′-diamino-phenyl methane, p,p′-methylenedianiline, p-phenylenediamine or 4,4′-diaminodiphenyl; and 2,4,6-tris(dimethylaminomethyl)phenol. An especially preferred diamine is bis(1,3-aminomethyl)cyclohexane (BAC).
  • The MBC composition preferably is prepared by mixing the above materials into each other thoroughly, either by using a dispersive mixing mechanism, a distributive mixing mechanism, or a combination of these. These mixing methods are well known in the manufacture of polymer blends.
  • The resulting MBC compositions may be further modified by the addition of an impact modifier, which can include copolymers or terpolymers having a glycidyl group, hydroxyl group, maleic anhydride group or carboxylic group, collectively referred to as functionalized polymers. These copolymers and terpolymers may comprise an α-olefin. Examples of suitable α-olefins include ethylene, propylene, 1-butene, 1-pentene, 3-methyl-1-butene, 1-hexene, 4-methyl-1-pentene, 3-methyl-1-pentene, 1-octene, 1-decene-, 1-dodecene, 1-tetradecene, 1-hexadecene, 1-octadecene, 1-eicocene, 1-dococene, 1-tetracocene, 1-hexacocene, 1-octacocene, and 1-triacontene. One or more of these α-olefins may be used.
  • VII. Additional Polymer Components
  • Other polymeric materials generally considered useful for making golf balls may also be included as a blend component with MBC or as a separate component of the core or one or more layers of the golf balls of the present invention. These include, without limitation, synthetic and natural rubbers, thermoset polymers such as other thermoset polyurethanes or thermoset polyureas, as well as thermoplastic polymers including thermoplastic elastomers such as metallocene catalyzed polymer, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic polyureas, polyamides, copolyamides, polyesters, copolyesters, polycarbonates, polyolefins, halogenated (e.g. chlorinated) polyolefins, halogenated polyalkylene compounds, such as halogenated polyethylene [e.g. chlorinated polyethylene (CPE)], polyalkenamer, polyphenylene oxides, polyphenylene sulfides, diallyl phthalate polymers, polyimides, polyvinyl chlorides, polyamide-ionomers, polyurethane-ionomers, polyvinyl alcohols, polyarylates, polyacrylates, polyphenylene ethers, impact-modified polyphenylene ethers, polystyrenes, high impact polystyrenes, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymers, styrene-acrylonitriles (SAN), acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylonitriles, styrene-maleic anhydride (S/MA) polymers, styrenic block copolymers including styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene, (SEBS) and styrene-ethylene-propylene-styrene (SEPS), styrenic terpolymers, functionalized styrenic block copolymers including hydroxylated, functionalized styrenic copolymers, and terpolymers, cellulosic polymers, liquid crystal polymers (LCP), ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymers (EPDM), ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA), ethylene-propylene copolymers, propylene elastomers (such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,525,157, to Kim et al., the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety), ethylene vinyl acetates, polyureas, and polysiloxanes and any and all combinations thereof.
  • One preferred polymer for blending with the modified block copolymer and/or used as a separate component of the core or one or more layers of the golf balls of the present invention are the olefin/unsaturated acid containing polymers including the ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid copolymers and ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid/alkyl(meth)acrylate terpolymers, or ethylene and/or propylene maleic anhydride copolymers and terpolymers. Examples of such polymers which are commercially available include, but are not limited to, the Escor® 5000, 5001, 5020, 5050, 5070, 5100, 5110 and 5200 series of ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers sold by Exxon and the Primacor® 1321, 1410, 1410-XT, 1420, 1430, 2912, 3150, 3330, 3340, 3440, 3460, 4311, 4608 and 5980 series of ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers sold by The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Mich. and the ethylene-acrylic acid copolymers Nucrel 599, 699, 0903, 0910, 925, 960, 2806, and 2906 ethylene-methacrylic acid copolymers. sold by DuPont Also included are the bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid polymers as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,562,906, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. These polymers comprise ethylene/α,β-ethylenically unsaturated C3-8 carboxylic acid high copolymers, particularly ethylene (meth)acrylic acid copolymers and ethylene, alkyl(meth)acrylate, (meth)acrylic acid terpolymers, having molecular weights of about 80,000 to about 500,000 which are melt blended with ethylene/α,β-ethylenically unsaturated C3-8 carboxylic acid copolymers, particularly ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid copolymers having molecular weights of about 2,000 to about 30,000.
  • Another preferred polymer for blending with the modified block copolymer and/or used as a separate component of the core or one or more layers of the golf balls of the present invention is an ionomer resin. One family of such resins was developed in the mid-1960's, by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., and is sold under the trademark SURLYN®. Preparation of such ionomers is well known, for example see U.S. Pat. No. 3,264,272, which is incorporated herein by reference. Generally speaking, most commercial ionomers are unimodal and consist of a polymer of a mono-olefin, e.g., an alkene, with an unsaturated mono- or dicarboxylic acids having 3 to 12 carbon atoms. An additional monomer in the form of a mono- or dicarboxylic acid ester may also be incorporated in the formulation as a so-called “softening comonomer”. The incorporated carboxylic acid groups are then neutralized by a basic metal ion salt, to form the ionomer. The metal cations of the basic metal ion salt used for neutralization include Li+, Na+, K+, Zn2+, Ca2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Pb2+, and Mg2+, with the Li+, Na+, Ca2+, Zn2+, and Mg2+ being preferred. The basic metal ion salts include those of for example formic acid, acetic acid, nitric acid, and carbonic acid, hydrogen carbonate salts, oxides, hydroxides, and alkoxides.
  • The first commercially available ionomer resins contained up to 16 weight percent acrylic or methacrylic acid, although it was also well known at that time that, as a general rule, the hardness of these cover materials could be increased with increasing acid content. Hence, in Research Disclosure 29703, published in January 1989, DuPont disclosed ionomers based on ethylene/acrylic acid or ethylene/methacrylic acid containing acid contents of greater than 15 weight percent. In this same disclosure, DuPont also taught that such so called “high acid ionomers” had significantly improved stiffness and hardness and thus could be advantageously used in golf ball construction, when used either singly or in a blend with other ionomers.
  • More recently, high acid ionomers can be ionomer resins with acrylic or methacrylic acid units present from 16 wt. % to about 35 wt. % in the polymer. Generally, such a high acid ionomer will have a flexural modulus from about 50,000 psi to about 125,000 psi.
  • Ionomer resins further comprising a softening comonomer, present from about 10 wt. % to about 50 wt. % in the polymer, have a flexural modulus from about 2,000 psi to about 10,000 psi, and are sometimes referred to as “soft” or “very low modulus” ionomers. Typical softening comonomers include n-butyl acrylate, iso-butyl acrylate, n-butyl methacrylate, methyl acrylate and methyl methacrylate.
  • Today, there are a wide variety of commercially available ionomer resins based both on copolymers of ethylene and (meth)acrylic acid or terpolymers of ethylene and (meth)acrylic acid and (meth)acrylate, all of which many of which are be used as a golf ball component. The properties of these ionomer resins can vary widely due to variations in acid content, softening comonomer content, the degree of neutralization, and the type of metal ion used in the neutralization. The full range commercially available typically includes ionomers of polymers of general formula, E/X/Y polymer, wherein E is ethylene, X is a C3 to C8 α, β ethylenically unsaturated carboxylic acid, such as acrylic or methacrylic acid, and is present in an amount from about 2 to about 30 weight % of the E/X/Y copolymer, and Y is a softening comonomer selected from the group consisting of alkyl acrylate and alkyl methacrylate, such as methyl acrylate or methyl methacrylate, and wherein the alkyl groups have from 1-8 carbon atoms, Y is in the range of 0 to about 50 weight % of the E/X/Y copolymer, and wherein the acid groups present in said ionomeric polymer are partially neutralized with basic salts comprising a metal ion selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, or a combination of such cations.
  • The ionomer may also be a so-called bimodal ionomer as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,562,906 (the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference). These ionomers are bimodal as they are prepared from blends comprising polymers of different molecular weights. Specifically they include bimodal polymer blend compositions comprising:
      • a) a high molecular weight component having a weight average molecular weight, Mw, of about 80,000 to about 500,000 and comprising one or more ethylene/α,β-ethylenically unsaturated C3-8 carboxylic acid copolymers and/or one or more ethylene, alkyl(meth)acrylate, (meth)acrylic acid terpolymers; said high molecular weight component being partially neutralized with basic salts comprising metal ions selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and a mixture of any these; and
      • b) a low molecular weight component having a weight average molecular weight, Mw, of about from about 2,000 to about 30,000 and comprising one or more ethylene/α,β-ethylenically unsaturated C3-8 carboxylic acid copolymers and/or one or more ethylene, alkyl(meth)acrylate, (meth)acrylic acid terpolymers; said low molecular weight component being partially neutralized with basic salts comprising metal ions selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, and a mixture of any these.
  • In addition to the unimodal and bimodal ionomers, also included are the so-called “modified ionomers” examples of which are described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,100,321, 6,329,458 and 6,616,552 and U.S. Patent Publication US 2003/0158312 A1, the entire contents of all of which are herein incorporated by reference.
  • The modified unimodal ionomers may be prepared by mixing:
      • a) an ionomeric polymer comprising ethylene, from 5 to 25 weight percent (meth)acrylic acid, and from 0, typically greater than 0 to 40 weight percent of a (meth)acrylate monomer, said ionomeric polymer neutralized with basic salts comprising metal ions selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, and any and all mixtures thereof; and
      • b) from about 5 to about 40 weight percent (based on the total weight of said modified ionomeric polymer) of one or more fatty acids or metal salts of said fatty acid, the metal selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, and any and all mixtures thereof; and the fatty acid preferably being stearic acid.
  • The modified bimodal ionomers, which are ionomers derived from the earlier described bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid polymers (as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,562,906, the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference), are prepared by mixing:
      • a) a high molecular weight component having a weight average molecular weight, Mw, of about 80,000 to about 500,000 and comprising one or more ethylene/α,β-ethylenically unsaturated C3-8 carboxylic acid copolymers and/or one or more ethylene, alkyl(meth)acrylate, (meth)acrylic acid terpolymers; said high molecular weight component being partially neutralized with basic salts comprising metal ions selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, and any and all mixtures thereof; and
      • b) a low molecular weight component having a weight average molecular weight, Mw, of about from about 2,000 to about 30,000 and comprising one or more ethylene/α,β-ethylenically unsaturated C3-8 carboxylic acid copolymers and/or one or more ethylene, alkyl(meth)acrylate, (meth)acrylic acid terpolymers; said low molecular weight component being partially neutralized with basic metal salts comprising metal ions selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, and any and all mixtures thereof; and
      • c) from about 5 to about 40 weight percent (based on the total weight of said modified ionomeric polymer) of one or more fatty acids or metal salts of said fatty acid, the metal selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc or aluminum, and any and all mixtures thereof; and the fatty acid preferably being stearic acid.
  • The fatty or waxy acid salts utilized in the various modified ionomers are composed of a chain of alkyl groups containing from about 4 to 75 carbon atoms (usually even numbered) and characterized by a —COOH terminal group. The generic formula for all fatty and waxy acids above acetic acid is CH3(CH2)XCOOH, wherein the carbon atom count includes the carboxyl group (i.e. x=2-73). The fatty or waxy acids utilized to produce the fatty or waxy acid salts modifiers may be saturated or unsaturated, and they may be present in solid, semi-solid or liquid form.
  • Examples of suitable saturated fatty acids, i.e., fatty acids in which the carbon atoms of the alkyl chain are connected by single bonds, include but are not limited to stearic acid (C18, i.e., CH3(CH2)16COOH), palmitic acid (C16, i.e., CH3(CH2)14COOH), pelargonic acid (C9, i.e., CH3(CH2)7COOH) and lauric acid (C12, i.e., CH3(CH2)10OCOOH). Examples of suitable unsaturated fatty acids, i.e., a fatty acid in which there are one or more double bonds between the carbon atoms in the alkyl chain, include but are not limited to oleic acid (C13, i.e., CH3(CH2)7CH:CH(CH2)7COOH).
  • The source of the metal ions used to produce the metal salts of the fatty or waxy acid salts used in the various modified ionomers are generally various metal salts which provide the metal ions capable of neutralizing, to various extents, the carboxylic acid groups of the fatty acids. These include the sulfate, carbonate, acetate and hydroxylate salts of zinc, barium, calcium and magnesium.
  • Since the fatty acid salts modifiers comprise various combinations of fatty acids neutralized with a large number of different metal ions, several different types of fatty acid salts may be utilized in the invention, including metal stearates, laureates, oleates, and palmitates, with calcium, zinc, sodium, lithium, potassium and magnesium stearate being preferred, and calcium and sodium stearate being most preferred.
  • The fatty or waxy acid or metal salt of said fatty or waxy acid is present in the modified ionomeric polymers in an amount of from about 5 to about 40, preferably from about 7 to about 35, more preferably from about 8 to about 20 weight percent (based on the total weight of said modified ionomeric polymer).
  • As a result of the addition of the one or more metal salts of a fatty or waxy acid, from about 40 to 100, preferably from about 50 to 100, more preferably from about 70 to 100 percent of the acidic groups in the final modified ionomeric polymer composition are neutralized by a metal ion.
  • An example of such a modified ionomer polymer is DuPont® HPF-1000 available from E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. Inc.
  • Another preferred polymer for blending with the modified block copolymer and/or used as a separate component of the core, outer cover layer or intermediate layer(s) of the golf balls of the present invention are the polyalkenamers which may be prepared by ring opening metathesis polymerization of one or more cycloalkenes in the presence of organometallic catalysts as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,492,245, and 3,804,803, the entire contents of both of which are herein incorporated by reference. Examples of suitable polyalkenamer rubbers are polybutenamer rubber, polypentenamer rubber, polyhexenamer rubber, polyheptenamer rubber, polyoctenamer rubber, polynonenamer rubber, polydecenamer rubber polyundecenamer rubber, polydodecenamer rubber, polytridecenamer rubber. For further details concerning polyalkenamer rubber, see Rubber Chem. & Tech., Vol. 47, page 511-596, 1974, which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • The polyalkenamer rubber preferably contains from about 50 to about 99, preferably from about 60 to about 99, more preferably from about 65 to about 99, even more preferably from about 70 to about 90 percent of its double bonds in the trans-configuration. The preferred form of the polyalkenamer has a trans content of approximately 80%, however, compounds having other ratios of the cis- and trans-isomeric forms of the polyalkenamer can also be obtained by blending available products for use in making the composition.
  • The polyalkenamer rubber has a molecular weight (as measured by GPC) from about 10,000 to about 300,000, preferably from about 20,000 to about 250,000, more preferably from about 30,000 to about 200,000, even more preferably from about 50,000 to about 150,000.
  • The polyalkenamer rubber has a degree of crystallization (as measured by DSC secondary fusion) from about 5 to about 70, preferably from about 6 to about 50, more preferably from about from 6.5 to about 50%, even more preferably from about from 7 to about 45%,
  • A most preferable polyalkenamer rubber for use in the golf balls of the present invention is a polyoctenamer. Polyoctenamer rubbers are commercially available from Huls AG of Marl, Germany, and through its distributor in the U.S., Creanova Inc. of Somerset, N.J., and sold under the trademark VESTENAMER®. Two grades of the VESTENAMER® trans-polyoctenamer are commercially available: VESTENAMER 8012 designates a material having a trans-content of approximately 80% (and a cis-content of 20%) with a melting point of approximately 54° C.; and VESTENAMER 6213 designates a material having a trans-content of approximately 60% (cis-content of 40%) with a melting point of approximately 30° C. Both of these polymers have a double bond at every eighth carbon atom in the ring.
  • The polyalkenamer rubbers may also be blended within other polymers and an especially preferred blend is that of a polyalkenamer and a polyamide. A more complete description of the polyalkenamer rubbers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,528,196 and copending U.S. application Ser. No. 12/415,522, filed on Mar. 31, 2009, both in the name of Hyun Kim et al., the entire contents of both of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • Another preferred polymer composition for blending with the modified block copolymer and/or used as a separate component of the core, outer cover layer or intermediate layer(s) of the golf balls of the present invention is a blend of a homopolyamide or copolyamide which is itself modified with a functional polymer modifier. Illustrative polyamides for use in the polyamide compositions include those obtained by: (1) polycondensation of (a) a dicarboxylic acid, such as oxalic acid, adipic acid, sebacic acid, terephthalic acid, isophthalic acid, or 1,4-cyclohexanedicarboxylic acid, with (b) a diamine, such as ethylenediamine, tetramethylenediamine, pentamethylenediamine, hexamethylenediamine, decamethylenediamine, 1,4-cyclohexyldiamine or m-xylylenediamine; (2) a ring-opening polymerization of cyclic lactam, such as ε-caprolactam or ω-laurolactam; (3) polycondensation of an aminocarboxylic acid, such as 6-aminocaproic acid, 9-aminononanoic acid, 11-aminoundecanoic acid or 12-aminododecanoic acid; (4) copolymerization of a cyclic lactam with a dicarboxylic acid and a diamine; or any combination of (1)-(4). In certain examples, the dicarboxylic acid may be an aromatic dicarboxylic acid or a cycloaliphatic dicarboxylic acid. In certain examples, the diamine may be an aromatic diamine or a cycloaliphatic diamine. Specific examples of suitable polyamides include polyamide 6; polyamide 11; polyamide 12; polyamide 4,6; polyamide 6,6; polyamide 6,9; polyamide 6,10; polyamide 6,12; polyamide MXD6; PA12,CX; PA12, IT; PPA; PA6, IT; and PA6/PPE.
  • The functional polymer modifier of the polyamide used in the ball covers or intermediate layers of the present invention can include copolymers or terpolymers having a glycidyl group, hydroxyl group, maleic anhydride group or carboxylic group, collectively referred to as functionalized polymers. These copolymers and terpolymers may comprise an α-olefin. Examples of suitable α-olefins include ethylene, propylene, 1-butene, 1-pentene, 3-methyl-1-butene, 1-hexene, 4-methyl-1-pentene, 3-methyl-1-pentene, 1-octene, 1-decene-, 1-dodecene, 1-tetradecene, 1-hexadecene, 1-octadecene, 1-eicocene, 1-dococene, 1-tetracocene, 1-hexacocene, 1-octacocene, and 1-triacontene. One or more of these α-olefins may be used.
  • Examples of suitable glycidyl groups in copolymers or terpolymers in the polymeric modifier include esters and ethers of aliphatic glycidyl, such as allylglycidylether, vinylglycidylether, glycidyl maleate and itaconatem glycidyl acrylate and methacrylate, and also alicyclic glycidyl esters and ethers, such as 2-cyclohexene-1-glycidylether, cyclohexene-4,5 diglyxidylcarboxylate, cyclohexene-4-glycidyl carobxylate, 5-norboenene-2-methyl-2-glycidyl carboxylate, and endocis-bicyclo(2,2,1)-5-heptene-2,3-diglycidyl dicarboxylate. These polymers having a glycidyl group may comprise other monomers, such as esters of unsaturated carboxylic acid, for example, alkyl(meth)acrylates or vinyl esters of unsaturated carboxylic acids. Polymers having a glycidyl group can be obtained by copolymerization or graft polymerization with homopolymers or copolymers.
  • Examples of suitable terpolymers having a glycidyl group include LOTADER AX8900 and AX8920, marketed by Atofina Chemicals, ELVALOY marketed by E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., and REXPEARL marketed by Nippon Petrochemicals Co., Ltd. Additional examples of copolymers comprising epoxy monomers and which are suitable for use within the scope of the present invention include styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymers in which the polybutadiene block contains epoxy group, and styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymers in which the polyisoprene block contains epoxy. Commercially available examples of these epoxy functional copolymers include ESBS A1005, ESBS A1010, ESBS A1020, ESBS AT018, and ESBS AT019, marketed by Daicel Chemical Industries, Ltd.
  • Examples of polymers or terpolymers incorporating a maleic anhydride group suitable for use within the scope of the present invention include maleic anhydride-modified ethylene-propylene copolymers, maleic anhydride-modified ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymers, maleic anhydride-modified polyethylenes, maleic anhydride-modified polypropylenes, ethylene-ethylacrylate-maleic anhydride terpolymers, and maleic anhydride-indene-styrene-cumarone polymers. Examples of commercially available copolymers incorporating maleic anhydride include: BONDINE, marketed by Sumitomo Chemical Co., such as BONDINE AX8390, an ethylene-ethyl acrylate-maleic anhydride terpolymer having a combined ethylene acrylate and maleic anhydride content of 32% by weight, and BONDINE TX TX8030, an ethylene-ethyl acrylate-maleic anhydride terpolymer having a combined ethylene acrylate and maleic anhydride content of 15% by weight and a maleic anhydride content of 1% to 4% by weight; maleic anhydride-containing LOTADER 3200, 3210, 6200, 8200, 3300, 3400, 3410, 7500, 5500, 4720, and 4700, marketed by Atofina Chemicals; EXXELOR VA 1803, a maleic anyhydride-modified ethylene-propylene copolymer having a maleic anyhydride content of 0.7% by weight, marketed by Exxon Chemical Co.; and KRATON FG 1901X, a maleic anhydride functionalized triblock copolymer having polystyrene endblocks and poly(ethylene/butylene) midblocks, marketed by Shell Chemical. Preferably the functional polymer component is a maleic anhydride grafted polymers preferably maleic anhydride grafted polyolefins (for example, Exxellor VA1803).
  • Another preferred polymer for blending with the modified block copolymer and/or used as a separate component of the core, outer cover layer or intermediate layer(s) of the golf balls of the present invention is the family of polyurethanes or polyureas which typically are prepared by reacting a diisocyanate with a polyol (in the case of polyurethanes) or with a polyamine (in the case of a polyurea). Thermoplastic polyurethanes or polyureas may consist solely of this initial mixture or may be further combined with a chain extender to vary properties such as hardness of the thermoplastic. Thermoset polyurethanes or polyureas typically are formed by the reaction of a diisocyanate and a polyol or polyamine respectively, and an additional crosslinking agent to crosslink or cure the material to result in a thermoset.
  • In what is known as a one-shot process, the three reactants, diisocyanate, polyol or polyamine, and optionally a chain extender or a curing agent, are combined in one step. Alternatively, a two-step process may occur in which the first step involves reacting the diisocyanate and the polyol (in the case of polyurethane) or the polyamine (in the case of a polyurea) to form a so-called prepolymer, to which can then be added either the chain extender or the curing agent. This procedure is known as the prepolymer process.
  • In addition, although depicted as discrete component packages as above, it is also possible to control the degree of crosslinking, and hence the degree of thermoplastic or thermoset properties in a final composition, by varying the stoichiometry not only of the diisocyanate-to-chain extender or curing agent ratio, but also the initial diisocyanate-to-polyol or polyamine ratio. Of course in the prepolymer process, the initial diisocyanate-to-polyol or polyamine ratio is fixed on selection of the required prepolymer.
  • In addition to discrete thermoplastic or thermoset materials, it also is possible to modify a thermoplastic polyurethane or polyurea composition by introducing materials in the composition that undergo subsequent curing after molding the thermoplastic to provide properties similar to those of a thermoset. For example, Kim in U.S. Pat. No. 6,924,337, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference, discloses a thermoplastic urethane or urea composition optionally comprising chain extenders and further comprising a peroxide or peroxide mixture, which can then undergo post curing to result in a thermoset.
  • Also, Kim et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 6,939,924, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference, discloses a thermoplastic urethane or urea composition, optionally also comprising chain extenders, that is prepared from a diisocyanate and a modified or blocked diisocyanate which unblocks and induces further cross linking post extrusion. The modified isocyanate preferably is selected from the group consisting of: isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI)-based uretdione-type crosslinker; a combination of a uretdione adduct of IPDI and a partially e-caprolactam-modified IPDI; a combination of isocyanate adducts modified by e-caprolactam and a carboxylic acid functional group; a caprolactam-modified Desmodur diisocyanate; a Desmodur diisocyanate having a 3,5-dimethylpyrazole modified isocyanate; or mixtures of these.
  • Finally, Kim et al. in U.S. Pat. No. 7,037,985 B2, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference, discloses thermoplastic urethane or urea compositions further comprising a reaction product of a nitroso compound and a diisocyanate or a polyisocyanate. The nitroso reaction product has a characteristic temperature at which it decomposes to regenerate the nitroso compound and diisocyanate or polyisocyanate. Thus, by judicious choice of the post-processing temperature, further crosslinking can be induced in the originally thermoplastic composition to provide thermoset-like properties.
  • Any isocyanate available to one of ordinary skill in the art is suitable for use according to the invention. Isocyanates for use with the present invention include, but are not limited to, aliphatic, cycloaliphatic, aromatic aliphatic, aromatic, any derivatives thereof, and combinations of these compounds having two or more isocyanate (NCO) groups per molecule. As used herein, aromatic aliphatic compounds should be understood as those containing an aromatic ring, wherein the isocyanate group is not directly bonded to the ring. One example of an aromatic aliphatic compound is a tetramethylene diisocyanate (TMXDI). The isocyanates may be organic polyisocyanate-terminated prepolymers, low free isocyanate prepolymer, and mixtures thereof. The isocyanate-containing reactable component also may include any isocyanate-functional monomer, dimer, trimer, or polymeric adduct thereof, prepolymer, quasi-prepolymer, or mixtures thereof. Isocyanate-functional compounds may include monoisocyanates or polyisocyanates that include any isocyanate functionality of two or more.
  • Suitable isocyanate-containing components include diisocyanates having the generic structure: O═C═N—R—N═C═O, where R preferably is a cyclic, aromatic, or linear or branched hydrocarbon moiety containing from about 1 to about 50 carbon atoms. The isocyanate also may contain one or more cyclic groups or one or more phenyl groups. When multiple cyclic or aromatic groups are present, linear and/or branched hydrocarbons containing from about 1 to about 10 carbon atoms can be present as spacers between the cyclic or aromatic groups. In some cases, the cyclic or aromatic group(s) may be substituted at the 2-, 3-, and/or 4-positions, or at the ortho-, meta-, and/or para-positions, respectively. Substituted groups may include, but are not limited to, halogens, primary, secondary, or tertiary hydrocarbon groups, or a mixture thereof.
  • Examples of isocyanates that can be used with the present invention include, but are not limited to, substituted and isomeric mixtures including 2,2′-, 2,4′-, and 4,4′-diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI); 3,3′-dimethyl-4,4′-biphenylene diisocyanate (TODI); toluene diisocyanate (TDI); polymeric MDI; carbodiimide-modified liquid 4,4′-diphenylmethane diisocyanate; para-phenylene diisocyanate (PPDI); meta-phenylene diisocyanate (MPDI); triphenyl methane-4,4′- and triphenyl methane-4,4″-triisocyanate; naphthylene-1,5-diisocyanate; 2,4′-, 4,4′-, and 2,2-biphenyl diisocyanate; polyphenylene polymethylene polyisocyanate (PMDI) (also known as polymeric PMDI); mixtures of MDI and PMDI; mixtures of PMDI and TDI; ethylene diisocyanate; propylene-1,2-diisocyanate; trimethylene diisocyanate; butylenes diisocyanate; bitolylene diisocyanate; tolidine diisocyanate; tetramethylene-1,2-diisocyanate; tetramethylene-1,3-diisocyanate; tetramethylene-1,4-diisocyanate; pentamethylene diisocyanate; 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI); octamethylene diisocyanate; decamethylene diisocyanate; 2,2,4-trimethylhexamethylene diisocyanate; 2,4,4-trimethylhexamethylene diisocyanate; dodecane-1,12-diisocyanate; dicyclohexylmethane diisocyanate; cyclobutane-1,3-diisocyanate; cyclohexane-1,2-diisocyanate; cyclohexane-1,3-diisocyanate; cyclohexane-1,4-diisocyanate; diethylidene diisocyanate; methylcyclohexylene diisocyanate (HTDI); 2,4-methylcyclohexane diisocyanate; 2,6-methylcyclohexane diisocyanate; 4,4′-dicyclohexyl diisocyanate; 2,4′-dicyclohexyl diisocyanate; 1,3,5-cyclohexane triisocyanate; isocyanatomethylcyclohexane isocyanate; 1-isocyanato-3,3,5-trimethyl-5-isocyanatomethylcyclohexane; isocyanatoethylcyclohexane isocyanate; bis(isocyanatomethyl)-cyclohexane diisocyanate; 4,4′-bis(isocyanatomethyl) dicyclohexane; 2,4′-bis(isocyanatomethyl) dicyclohexane; isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI); dimeryl diisocyanate, dodecane-1,12-diisocyanate, 1,10-decamethylene diisocyanate, cyclohexylene-1,2-diisocyanate, 1,10-decamethylene diisocyanate, 1-chlorobenzene-2,4-diisocyanate, furfurylidene diisocyanate, 2,4,4-trimethyl hexamethylene diisocyanate, 2,2,4-trimethyl hexamethylene diisocyanate, dodecamethylene diisocyanate, 1,3-cyclopentane diisocyanate, 1,3-cyclohexane diisocyanate, 1,3-cyclobutane diisocyanate, 1,4-cyclohexane diisocyanate, 4,4′-methylenebis(cyclohexyl isocyanate), 4,4′-methylenebis(phenyl isocyanate), 1-methyl-2,4-cyclohexane diisocyanate, 1-methyl-2,6-cyclohexane diisocyanate, 1,3-bis(isocyanato-methyl)cyclohexane, 1,6-diisocyanato-2,2,4,4-tetra-methylhexane, 1,6-diisocyanato-2,4,4-tetra-trimethylhexane, trans-cyclohexane-1,4-diisocyanate, 3-isocyanato-methyl-3,5,5-trimethylcyclo-hexyl isocyanate, 1-isocyanato-3,3,5-trimethyl-5-isocyanatomethylcyclohexane, cyclohexyl isocyanate, dicyclohexylmethane 4,4′-diisocyanate, 1,4-bis(isocyanatomethyl)cyclohexane, m-phenylene diisocyanate, m-xylylene diisocyanate, m-tetramethylxylylene diisocyanate, p-phenylene diisocyanate, p,p′-biphenyl diisocyanate, 3,3′-dimethyl-4,4′-biphenylene diisocyanate, 3,3′-dimethoxy-4,4′-biphenylene diisocyanate, 3,3′-diphenyl-4,4′-biphenylene diisocyanate, 4,4′-biphenylene diisocyanate, 3,3′-dichloro-4,4′-biphenylene diisocyanate, 1,5-naphthalene diisocyanate, 4-chloro-1,3-phenylene diisocyanate, 1,5-tetrahydronaphthalene diisocyanate, metaxylene diisocyanate, 2,4-toluene diisocyanate, 2,4′-diphenylmethane diisocyanate, 2,4-chlorophenylene diisocyanate, 4,4′-diphenylmethane diisocyanate, p,p′-diphenylmethane diisocyanate, 2,4-tolylene diisocyanate, 2,6-tolylene diisocyanate, 2,2-diphenylpropane-4,4′-diisocyanate, 4,4′-toluidine diisocyanate, dianidine diisocyanate, 4,4′-diphenyl ether diisocyanate, 1,3-xylylene diisocyanate, 1,4-naphthylene diisocyanate, azobenzene-4,4′-diisocyanate, diphenyl sulfone-4,4′-diisocyanate, triphenylmethane 4,4′,4″-triisocyanate, isocyanatoethyl methacrylate, 3-isopropenyl-α,α-dimethylbenzyl-isocyanate, dichlorohexamethylene diisocyanate, ω,ω′-diisocyanato-1,4-diethylbenzene, polymethylene polyphenylene polyisocyanate, isocyanurate modified compounds, and carbodiimide modified compounds, as well as biuret modified compounds of the above polyisocyanates. These isocyanates may be used either alone or in combination. These combination isocyanates include triisocyanates, such as biuret of hexamethylene diisocyanate and triphenylmethane triisocyanates, and polyisocyanates, such as polymeric diphenylmethane diisocyanate.triisocyanate of HDI; triisocyanate of 2,2,4-trimethyl-1,6-hexane diisocyanate (TMDI); 4,4′-dicyclohexylmethane diisocyanate (H12MDI); 2,4-hexahydrotoluene diisocyanate; 2,6-hexahydrotoluene diisocyanate; 1,2-, 1,3-, and 1,4-phenylene diisocyanate; aromatic aliphatic isocyanate, such as 1,2-, 1,3-, and 1,4-xylene diisocyanate; meta-tetramethylxylene diisocyanate (m-TMXDI); para-tetramethylxylene diisocyanate (p-TMXDI); trimerized isocyanurate of any polyisocyanate, such as isocyanurate of toluene diisocyanate, trimer of diphenylmethane diisocyanate, trimer of tetramethylxylene diisocyanate, isocyanurate of hexamethylene diisocyanate, and mixtures thereof, dimerized uretdione of any polyisocyanate, such as uretdione of toluene diisocyanate, uretdione of hexamethylene diisocyanate, and mixtures thereof; modified polyisocyanate derived from the above isocyanates and polyisocyanates; and mixtures thereof.
  • Any polyol now known or hereafter developed is suitable for use according to the invention. Polyols suitable for use in the present invention include, but are not limited to, polyester polyols, polyether polyols, polycarbonate polyols and polydiene polyols such as polybutadiene polyols.
  • Any polyamine available to one of ordinary skill in the polyurethane art is suitable for use according to the invention. Polyamines suitable for use in the compositions of the present invention include, but are not limited to, amine-terminated compounds typically are selected from amine-terminated hydrocarbons, amine-terminated polyethers, amine-terminated polyesters, amine-terminated polycaprolactones, amine-terminated polycarbonates, amine-terminated polyamides, and mixtures thereof. The amine-terminated compound may be a polyether amine selected from polytetramethylene ether diamines, polyoxypropylene diamines, poly(ethylene oxide capped oxypropylene) ether diamines, triethyleneglycoldiamines, propylene oxide-based triamines, trimethylolpropane-based triamines, glycerin-based triamines, and mixtures thereof.
  • The diisocyanate and polyol or polyamine components may be combined to form a prepolymer prior to reaction with a chain extender or curing agent. Any such prepolymer combination is suitable for use in the present invention.
  • One preferred prepolymer is a toluene diisocyanate prepolymer with polypropylene glycol. Such polypropylene glycol terminated toluene diisocyanate prepolymers are available from Uniroyal Chemical Company of Middlebury, Conn., under the trade name ADIPRENE® LFG963A and LFG640D. Most preferred prepolymers are the polytetramethylene ether glycol terminated toluene diisocyanate prepolymers including those available from Uniroyal Chemical Company of Middlebury, Conn., under the trade name ADIPRENE® LF930A, LF950A, LF601D, and LF751D.
  • In one embodiment, the number of free NCO groups in the urethane or urea prepolymer may be less than about 14 percent. Preferably the urethane or urea prepolymer has from about 3 percent to about 11 percent, more preferably from about 4 to about 9.5 percent, and even more preferably from about 3 percent to about 9 percent, free NCO on an equivalent weight basis.
  • Polyol chain extenders or curing agents may be primary, secondary, or tertiary polyols. Non-limiting examples of monomers of these polyols include: trimethylolpropane (TMP), ethylene glycol, 1,3-propanediol, 1,4-butanediol, 1,5-pentanediol, 1,6-hexanediol, propylene glycol, dipropylene glycol, 1,2-butanediol, 1,3-butanediol, 2,3-butanediol, 1,2-pentanediol, 2,3-pentanediol, 2,5-hexanediol, 2,4-hexanediol, 2-ethyl-1,3-hexanediol, cyclohexanediol, and 2-ethyl-2-(hydroxymethyl)-1,3-propanediol.
  • Diamines and other suitable polyamines may be added to the compositions of the present invention to function as chain extenders or curing agents. These include primary, secondary and tertiary amines having two or more amines as functional groups. Exemplary diamines include aliphatic diamines, such as tetramethylenediamine, pentamethylenediamine, hexamethylenediamine; alicyclic diamines, such as 3,3′-dimethyl-4,4′-diamino-dicyclohexyl methane; or aromatic diamines, such as diethyl-2,4-toluenediamine-4,4″-methylenebis-(3-chloro,2,6-diethyl)-aniline (available from Air Products and Chemicals Inc., of Allentown, Pa., under the trade name LONZACURE®), 3,3′-dichlorobenzidene; 3,3′-dichloro-4,4′-diaminodiphenyl methane (MOCA); N,N,N′,N′-tetrakis(2-hydroxypropyl)ethylenediamine, 3,5-dimethylthio-2,4-toluenediamine; 3,5-dimethylthio-2,6-toluenediamine; N,N′-dialkyldiamino diphenyl methane; trimethylene-glycol-di-p-aminobenzoate; polytetramethyleneoxide-di-p-aminobenzoate, 4,4′-methylene bis-2-chloroaniline, 2,2′,3,3′-tetrachloro-4,4′-diamino-phenyl methane, p,p′-methylenedianiline, p-phenylenediamine or 4,4′-diaminodiphenyl; and 2,4,6-tris(dimethylaminomethyl)phenol.
  • Depending on their chemical structure, curing agents may be slow- or fast-reacting polyamines or polyols. As described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,793,864, 6,719,646 and copending U.S. Patent Publication No. US 2004/0201133 A1, (the contents of all of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference), slow-reacting polyamines are diamines having amine groups that are sterically and/or electronically hindered by electron withdrawing groups or bulky groups situated proximate to the amine reaction sites. The spacing of the amine reaction sites will also affect the reactivity speed of the polyamines.
  • Suitable curatives include, but are not limited to, 3,5-dimethylthio-2,4-toluenediamine; 3,5-dimethylthio-2,6-toluenediamine; N,N′-dialkyldiamino diphenyl methane; trimethylene-glycol-di-p-aminobenzoate; polytetramethyleneoxide-di-p-aminobenzoate, and mixtures thereof. Of these, 3,5-dimethylthio-2,4-toluenediamine and 3,5-dimethylthio-2,6-toluenediamine are isomers and are sold under the trade name ETHACURE® 300 by Ethyl Corporation. Trimethylene glycol-di-p-aminobenzoate is sold under the trade name POLACURE 740M and polytetramethyleneoxide-di-p-aminobenzoates are sold under the trade name POLAMINES by Polaroid Corporation. N,N′-dialkyldiamino diphenyl methane is sold under the trade name UNILINK® by UOP.
  • Also included as a curing agent for use in the polyurethane or polyurea compositions used in the present invention are the family of dicyandiamides as described in copending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/809,432 filed on May 31, 2007 by Kim et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • In one embodiment of the present invention the MBC is used as a single polymeric component of a golf ball core, outer cover and one or more intermediate layers.
  • In another embodiment of the present invention, the MBC may also be blended with one or more of the heretofore described additional polymer components. Thus the core, cover and/or one or more intermediate layer compositions of the golf balls of the present invention may comprise from about 30 to about 100, preferably from about 40 to about 90, more preferably from about 50 to about 85 and most preferably from about 55 to about 75 wt % of the MBC and from 0 to about 70, preferably from about 10 to about 60, more preferably from about 15 to about 50 and most preferably from about 25 to about 45 wt % of one or more additional polymer components (all percentages based on the combined weight of the MBC and the ione or more additional polymer components.
  • The melt index (MFI measured using ASTM D-1238, 230° C. and 2.16 kg load) of the MBC or blend of the MBC with one or more additional polymer components is greater than about 5, preferably greater than about 10, most preferably greater than about 15 g/10 min.
  • In a preferred embodiment the additional polymer component is an olefin/unsaturated acid containing polymer including the ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid copolymers and ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid/alkyl(meth)acrylate terpolymers, or ethylene and/or propylene maleic anhydride copolymers and terpolymers.
  • In another preferred embodiment the additional polymer component is an olefin/unsaturated acid containing polymer including the ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid copolymers and ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid/alkyl(meth)acrylate terpolymers, or ethylene and/or propylene maleic anhydride copolymers and terpolymers and then from about 0 to about 100, preferably from about 5 to about 90, more preferably from about 10 to about 80 and most preferably from about 12 to about 75 weight percent of the acid groups in the resulting blend composition (based on the final weight of the blend composition) are then neutralized with a basic metal ion salt. The metal cations of the basic metal ion salt used for neutralization include Li+, Na+, K+, Zn2+, Ca2+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Pb2+, and Mg2+, with the Li+, Na+, Ca2+, Zn2+, and Mg2+ being preferred. The basic metal ion salts include those of for example formic acid, acetic acid, nitric acid, and carbonic acid, hydrogen carbonate salts, oxides, hydroxides, and alkoxides.
  • In another preferred embodiments the additional polymer component is a unimodal ionomer or a bimodal ionomer or a modified unimodal ionomer or a modified bimodal ionomer or any and all combinations thereof.
  • VIII. Core Composition
  • The cores of the golf balls of the present invention may include the traditional rubber components used in golf ball applications including, both natural and synthetic rubbers, such as cis-1,4-polybutadiene, trans-1,4-polybutadiene, 1,2-polybutadiene, cis-polyisoprene, trans-polyisoprene, polychloroprene, polybutylene, styrene-butadiene rubber, styrene-butadiene-styrene block copolymer and partially and fully hydrogenated equivalents, styrene-isoprene-styrene block copolymer and partially and fully hydrogenated equivalents, nitrile rubber, silicone rubber, and polyurethane, as well as mixtures of these. Polybutadiene rubbers, especially 1,4-polybutadiene rubbers containing at least 40 mol %, and more preferably 80 to 100 mol % of cis-1,4 bonds, are preferred because of their high rebound resilience, moldability, and high strength after vulcanization. The polybutadiene component may be synthesized by using rare earth-based catalysts, nickel-based catalysts, or cobalt-based catalysts, conventionally used in this field. Polybutadiene obtained by using lanthanum rare earth-based catalysts usually employ a combination of a lanthanum rare earth (atomic number of 57 to 71)-compound, but particularly preferred is a neodymium compound.
  • The 1,4-polybutadiene rubbers have a molecular weight distribution (Mw/Mn) of from about 1.2 to about 4.0, preferably from about 1.7 to about 3.7, even more preferably from about 2.0 to about 3.5, most preferably from about 2.2 to about 3.2. The polybutadiene rubbers have a Mooney viscosity (ML1+4(100° C.)) of from about 20 to about 80, preferably from about 30 to about 70, even more preferably from about 30 to about 60, most preferably from about 35 to about 50. The term “Mooney viscosity” used herein refers in each case to an industrial index of viscosity as measured with a Mooney viscometer, which is a type of rotary plastometer (see JIS K6300). This value is represented by the symbol ML1+4 (100° C.), wherein “M” stands for Mooney viscosity, “L” stands for large rotor (L-type), “1+4” stands for a pre-heating time of 1 minute and a rotor rotation time of 4 minutes, and “100° C.” indicates that measurement was carried out at a temperature of 100° C. As readily appreciated by one skilled in the art, blends of polybutadiene rubbers may also be utilized in the golf balls of the present invention, such blends may be prepared with any mixture of rare earth-based catalysts, nickel-based catalysts, or cobalt-based catalysts derived materials, and from materials having different molecular weights, molecular weight distributions and Mooney viscosity.
  • The cores of the golf balls of the present invention may also include 1,2-polybutadienes having differing tacticity, all of which are suitable as unsaturated polymers for use in the presently disclosed compositions, are atactic 1,2-polybutadiene, isotactic 1,2-polybutadiene, and syndiotactic 1,2-polybutadiene. Syndiotactic 1,2-polybutadiene having crystallinity suitable for use as an unsaturated polymer in the presently disclosed compositions are polymerized from a 1,2-addition of butadiene. The presently disclosed golf balls may include syndiotactic 1,2-polybutadiene having crystallinity and greater than about 70% of 1,2-bonds, more preferably greater than about 80% of 1,2-bonds, and most preferably greater than about 90% of 1,2-bonds. Also, the 1,2-polybutadiene may have a mean molecular weight between about 10,000 and about 350,000, more preferably between about 50,000 and about 300,000, more preferably between about 80,000 and about 200,000, and most preferably between about 10,000 and about 150,000. Examples of suitable syndiotactic 1,2-polybutadienes having crystallinity suitable for use in golf balls are sold under the trade names RB810, RB820, and RB830 by JSR Corporation of Tokyo, Japan.
  • The cores of the golf balls of the present invention may also include the polyalkenamer rubbers as previously described herein and disclosed in copending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/335,070, filed on Jan. 18, 2006, in the name of Hyun Kim et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • When synthetic rubbers such as the aforementioned polybutadienes or polyalkenamers and their blends are used in the golf balls of the present invention they may contain further materials typically often used in rubber formulations including crosslinking agents, co-crosslinking agents, peptizers and accelerators.
  • Suitable cross-linking agents for use in the golf balls of the present invention include peroxides, sulfur compounds, or other known chemical cross-linking agents, as well as mixtures of these. Non-limiting examples of suitable cross-linking agents include primary, secondary, or tertiary aliphatic or aromatic organic peroxides. Peroxides containing more than one peroxy group can be used, such as 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(tert-butylperoxy)hexane and 1,4-di-(2-tert-butyl peroxyisopropyl)benzene. Both symmetrical and asymmetrical peroxides can be used, for example, tert-butyl perbenzoate and tert-butyl cumyl peroxide. Peroxides incorporating carboxyl groups also are suitable. The decomposition of peroxides used as cross-linking agents in the present invention can be brought about by applying thermal energy, shear, irradiation, reaction with other chemicals, or any combination of these. Both homolytically and heterolytically decomposed peroxide can be used in the present invention. Non-limiting examples of suitable peroxides include: diacetyl peroxide; di-tert-butyl peroxide; dibenzoyl peroxide; dicumyl peroxide; 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di(benzoylperoxy)hexane; 1,4-bis-(t-butylperoxyisopropyl)benzene; t-butylperoxybenzoate; 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di-(t-butylperoxy)hexyne-3, such as Trigonox 145-45B, marketed by Akrochem Corp. of Akron, Ohio; 1,1-bis(t-butylperoxy)-3,3,5-tri-methylcyclohexane, such as Varox 231-XL, marketed by R.T. Vanderbilt Co., Inc. of Norwalk, Conn.; and di-(2,4-dichlorobenzoyl)peroxide. The cross-linking agents can be blended in total amounts of about 0.05 part to about 5 parts, more preferably about 0.2 part to about 3 parts, and most preferably about 0.2 part to about 2 parts, by weight of the cross-linking agents per 100 parts by weight of the unsaturated polymer.
  • Each cross-linking agent has a characteristic decomposition temperature at which 50% of the cross-linking agent has decomposed when subjected to that temperature for a specified time period (t1/2). For example, 1,1-bis-(t-butylperoxy)-3,3,5-tri-methylcyclohexane at t1/2=0.1 hr has a decomposition temperature of 138° C. and 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-di-(t-butylperoxy)hexyne-3 at t1/2=0.1 hr has a decomposition temperature of 182° C. Two or more cross-linking agents having different characteristic decomposition temperatures at the same t1/2 may be blended in the composition. For example, where at least one cross-linking agent has a first characteristic decomposition temperature less than 150° C., and at least one cross-linking agent has a second characteristic decomposition temperature greater than 150° C., the composition weight ratio of the at least one cross-linking agent having the first characteristic decomposition temperature to the at least one cross-linking agent having the second characteristic decomposition temperature can range from 5:95 to 95:5, or more preferably from 10:90 to 50:50.
  • Besides the use of chemical cross-linking agents, exposure of the composition to radiation also can serve as a cross-linking agent. Radiation can be applied to the unsaturated polymer mixture by any known method, including using microwave or gamma radiation, or an electron beam device. Additives may also be used to improve radiation curing of the diene polymer.
  • The rubber and cross-linking agent may be blended with a co-cross-linking agent, which may be a metal salt of an unsaturated carboxylic acid. Examples of these include zinc and magnesium salts of unsaturated fatty acids having 3 to 8 carbon atoms, such as acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, maleic acid, and fumaric acid, palmitic acid with the zinc salts of acrylic and methacrylic acid being most preferred. The unsaturated carboxylic acid metal salt can be blended in a rubber either as a preformed metal salt, or by introducing an α,β-unsaturated carboxylic acid and a metal oxide or hydroxide into the rubber composition, and allowing them to react in the rubber composition to form a metal salt. The unsaturated carboxylic acid metal salt can be blended in any desired amount, but preferably in amounts of about 10 parts to about 60 parts by weight of the unsaturated carboxylic acid per 100 parts by weight of the synthetic rubber.
  • The core compositions used in the present invention may also incorporate one or more of the so-called “peptizers”. The peptizer preferably comprises an organic sulfur compound and/or its metal or non-metal salt. Examples of such organic sulfur compounds include thiophenols, such as pentachlorothiophenol, 4-butyl-o-thiocresol, 4t-butyl-p-thiocresol, and 2-benzamidothiophenol; thiocarboxylic acids, such as thiobenzoic acid; 4,4′ dithio dimorpholine; and, sulfides, such as dixylyl disulfide, dibenzoyl disulfide; dibenzothiazyl disulfide; di(pentachlorophenyl) disulfide; dibenzamido diphenyldisulfide (DBDD), and alkylated phenol sulfides, such as VULTAC marketed by Atofina Chemicals, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pa. Preferred organic sulfur compounds include pentachlorothiophenol, and dibenzamido diphenyldisulfide.
  • Examples of the metal salt of an organic sulfur compound include sodium, potassium, lithium, magnesium calcium, barium, cesium and zinc salts of the above-mentioned thiophenols and thiocarboxylic acids, with the zinc salt of pentachlorothiophenol being most preferred.
  • Examples of the non-metal salt of an organic sulfur compound include ammonium salts of the above-mentioned thiophenols and thiocarboxylic acids wherein the ammonium cation has the general formula [NR1R2R3R4]+ where R1, R2, R3 and R4 are selected from the group consisting of hydrogen, a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety, and any and all combinations thereof, with the most preferred being the NH4 +-salt of pentachlorothiophenol.
  • Additional peptizers include aromatic or conjugated peptizers comprising one or more heteroatoms, such as nitrogen, oxygen and/or sulfur. More typically, such peptizers are heteroaryl or heterocyclic compounds having at least one heteroatom, and potentially plural heteroatoms, where the plural heteroatoms may be the same or different. Such peptizers include peptizers such as an indole peptizer, a quinoline peptizer, an isoquinoline peptizer, a pyridine peptizer, purine peptizer, a pyrimidine peptizer, a diazine peptizer, a pyrazine peptizer, a triazine peptizer, a carbazole peptizer, or combinations of such peptizers.
  • Suitable peptizers also may include one or more additional functional groups, such as halogens, particularly chlorine; a sulfur-containing moiety exemplified by thiols, where the functional group is sulfhydryl (—SH), thioethers, where the functional group is —SR, disulfides, (R1S—SR2), etc.; and combinations of functional groups. Such peptizers are more fully disclosed in copending U.S. Application No. 60/752,475 filed on Dec. 20, 2005 in the name of Hyun Kim et al., the entire contents of which are herein incorporated by reference. A most preferred example is 2,3,5,6-tetrachloro-4-pyridinethiol (TCPT).
  • The peptizer, if employed in the golf balls of the present invention is present in an amount up to about 10, from about 0.01 to about 10, preferably of from about 0.10 to about 7, more preferably of from about 0.15 to about 5 parts by weight per 100 parts by weight of the synthetic rubber component.
  • The core compositions can also comprise one or more accelerators of one or more classes. Accelerators are added to an unsaturated polymer to increase the vulcanization rate and/or decrease the vulcanization temperature. Accelerators can be of any class known for rubber processing including mercapto-, sulfenamide-, thiuram, dithiocarbamate, dithiocarbamyl-sulfenamide, xanthate, guanidine, amine, thiourea, and dithiophosphate accelerators. Specific commercial accelerators include 2-mercaptobenzothiazole and its metal or non-metal salts, such as Vulkacit Mercapto C, Mercapto MGC, Mercapto ZM-5, and ZM marketed by Bayer AG of Leverkusen, Germany, Nocceler M, Nocceler MZ, and Nocceler M-60 marketed by Ouchisinko Chemical Industrial Company, Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan, and MBT and ZMBT marketed by Akrochem Corporation of Akron, Ohio. A more complete list of commercially available accelerators is given in The Vanderbilt Rubber Handbook: 13th Edition (1990, R.T. Vanderbilt Co.), pp. 296-330, in Encyclopedia of Polymer Science and Technology, Vol. 12 (1970, John Wiley & Sons), pp. 258-259, and in Rubber Technology Handbook (1980, Hanser/Gardner Publications), pp. 234-236. Preferred accelerators include 2-mercaptobenzothiazole (MBT) and its salts. The synthetic rubber composition can further incorporate from about 0.1 part to about 10 parts by weight of the accelerator per 100 parts by weight of the rubber. More preferably, the ball composition can further incorporate from about 0.2 part to about 5 parts, and most preferably from about 0.5 part to about 1.5 parts, by weight of the accelerator per 100 parts by weight of the rubber.
  • IX. Fillers
  • The various polymeric compositions used to prepare the golf balls of the present invention also can incorporate one or more fillers. Such fillers are typically in a finely divided form, for example, in a size generally less than about 20 mesh, preferably less than about 100 mesh U.S. standard size, except for fibers and flock, which are generally elongated. Filler particle size will depend upon desired effect, cost, ease of addition, and dusting considerations. The appropriate amounts of filler required will vary depending on the application but typically can be readily determined without undue experimentation.
  • The filler preferably is selected from the group consisting of precipitated hydrated silica, limestone, clay, talc, asbestos, barytes, glass fibers, aramid fibers, mica, calcium metasilicate, barium sulfate, zinc sulfide, lithopone, silicates, silicon carbide, diatomaceous earth, carbonates such as calcium or magnesium or barium carbonate, sulfates such as calcium or magnesium or barium sulfate, metals, including tungsten, steel, copper, cobalt or iron, metal alloys, tungsten carbide, metal oxides, metal stearates, and other particulate carbonaceous materials, and any and all combinations thereof. Preferred examples of fillers include metal oxides, such as zinc oxide and magnesium oxide. In another preferred aspect the filler comprises a continuous or non-continuous fiber. In another preferred aspect the filler comprises one or more so called nanofillers, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,794,447 and copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/670,090, filed on Sep. 24, 2003, and copending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/926,509, filed on Aug. 25, 2004, the entire contents of each of which are incorporated herein by reference.
  • Inorganic nanofiller material generally is made of clay, such as hydrotalcite, phyllosilicate, saponite, hectorite, beidellite, stevensite, vermiculite, halloysite, mica, montmorillonite, micafluoride, or octosilicate. To facilitate incorporation of the nanofiller material into a polymer material, either in preparing nanocomposite materials or in preparing polymer-based golf ball compositions, the clay particles generally are coated or treated by a suitable compatibilizing agent. The compatibilizing agent allows for superior linkage between the inorganic and organic material, and it also can account for the hydrophilic nature of the inorganic nanofiller material and the possibly hydrophobic nature of the polymer. Compatibilizing agents may exhibit a variety of different structures depending upon the nature of both the inorganic nanofiller material and the target matrix polymer. Non-limiting examples include hydroxy-, thiol-, amino-, epoxy-, carboxylic acid-, ester-, amide-, and siloxy-group containing compounds, oligomers or polymers. The nanofiller materials can be incorporated into the polymer either by dispersion into the particular monomer or oligomer prior to polymerization, or by melt compounding of the particles into the matrix polymer. Examples of commercial nanofillers are various Cloisite grades including 10A, 15A, 20A, 25A, 30B, and NA+ of Southern Clay Products (Gonzales, Tex.) and the Nanomer grades including 1.24TL and C.30EVA of Nanocor, Inc. (Arlington Heights, Ill.).
  • Nanofillers when added into a matrix polymer, such as the polyalkenamer rubber, can be mixed in three ways. In one type of mixing there is dispersion of the aggregate structures within the matrix polymer, but on mixing no interaction of the matrix polymer with the aggregate platelet structure occurs, and thus the stacked platelet structure is essentially maintained. As used herein, this type of mixing is defined as “undispersed”.
  • However, if the nanofiller material is selected correctly, the matrix polymer chains can penetrate into the aggregates and separate the platelets, and thus when viewed by transmission electron microscopy or x-ray diffraction, the aggregates of platelets are expanded. At this point the nanofiller is said to be substantially evenly dispersed within and reacted into the structure of the matrix polymer. This level of expansion can occur to differing degrees. If small amounts of the matrix polymer are layered between the individual platelets then, as used herein, this type of mixing is known as “intercalation”.
  • In some circumstances, further penetration of the matrix polymer chains into the aggregate structure separates the platelets, and leads to a complete disruption of the platelet's stacked structure in the aggregate. Thus, when viewed by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), the individual platelets are thoroughly mixed throughout the matrix polymer. As used herein, this type of mixing is known as “exfoliated”. An exfoliated nanofiller has the platelets fully dispersed throughout the polymer matrix; the platelets may be dispersed unevenly but preferably are dispersed evenly.
  • While not wishing to be limited to any theory, one possible explanation of the differing degrees of dispersion of such nanofillers within the matrix polymer structure is the effect of the compatibilizer surface coating on the interaction between the nanofiller platelet structure and the matrix polymer. By careful selection of the nanofiller it is possible to vary the penetration of the matrix polymer into the platelet structure of the nanofiller on mixing. Thus, the degree of interaction and intrusion of the polymer matrix into the nanofiller controls the separation and dispersion of the individual platelets of the nanofiller within the polymer matrix. This interaction of the polymer matrix and the platelet structure of the nanofiller is defined herein as the nanofiller “reacting into the structure of the polymer” and the subsequent dispersion of the platelets within the polymer matrix is defined herein as the nanofiller “being substantially evenly dispersed” within the structure of the polymer matrix.
  • If no compatibilizer is present on the surface of a filler such as a clay, or if the coating of the clay is attempted after its addition to the polymer matrix, then the penetration of the matrix polymer into the nanofiller is much less efficient, very little separation and no dispersion of the individual clay platelets occurs within the matrix polymer.
  • Physical properties of the polymer will change with the addition of nanofiller. The physical properties of the polymer are expected to improve even more as the nanofiller is dispersed into the polymer matrix to form a nanocomposite.
  • Materials incorporating nanofiller materials can provide these property improvements at much lower densities than those incorporating conventional fillers. For example, a nylon-6 nanocomposite material manufactured by RTP Corporation of Wichita, Kans., uses a 3% to 5% clay loading and has a tensile strength of 11,800 psi and a specific gravity of 1.14, while a conventional 30% mineral-filled material has a tensile strength of 8,000 psi and a specific gravity of 1.36. Using nanocomposite materials with lower inorganic materials loadings than conventional fillers provides the same properties, and this allows products comprising nanocomposite fillers to be lighter than those with conventional fillers, while maintaining those same properties.
  • Nanocomposite materials are materials incorporating up to about 20%, or from about 0.1% to about 20%, preferably from about 0.1% to about 15%, and most preferably from about 0.1% to about 10% of nanofiller reacted into and substantially dispersed through intercalation or exfoliation into the structure of an organic material, such as a polymer, to provide strength, temperature resistance, and other property improvements to the resulting composite. Descriptions of particular nanocomposite materials and their manufacture can be found in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,962,553 to Ellsworth, 5,385,776 to Maxfield et al., and 4,894,411 to Okada et al. Examples of nanocomposite materials currently marketed include M1030D, manufactured by Unitika Limited, of Osaka, Japan, and 1015C2, manufactured by UBE America of New York, N.Y.
  • When nanocomposites are blended with other polymer systems, the nanocomposite may be considered a type of nanofiller concentrate. However, a nanofiller concentrate may be more generally a polymer into which nanofiller is mixed; a nanofiller concentrate does not require that the nanofiller has reacted and/or dispersed evenly into the carrier polymer.
  • The nanofiller material is added in an amount up to about 20 wt %, from about 0.1% to about 20%, preferably from about 0.1% to about 15%, and most preferably from about 0.1% to about 10% by weight (based on the final weight of the polymer matrix material) of nanofiller reacted into and substantially dispersed through intercalation or exfoliation into the structure of the polymer matrix.
  • If desired, the various polymer compositions used to prepare the golf balls of the present invention can additionally contain other conventional additives such as plasticizers, pigments, antioxidants, U.V. absorbers, optical brighteners, or any other additives generally employed in plastics formulation or the preparation of golf balls.
  • In an especially preferred aspect, a nanofiller additive component in the golf ball of the present invention is surface modified with a compatibilizing agent comprising the earlier described block copolymer modifying compounds having the general formula:

  • (R2N)m—R′—(X(O)n(OR)y)m,
  • A most preferred aspect would be a filler comprising a nanofiller clay material surface modified with an amino acid including 12-aminododecanoic acid. Such fillers are available from Nanonocor Co. under the tradename Nanomer 1.24TL.
  • The filler can be blended in variable effective amounts, such as amounts of greater than 0 to at least about 80 parts, and more typically from about 10 parts to about 80 parts, by weight per 100 parts by weight of the base rubber. If desired, the rubber composition can additionally contain effective amounts of a plasticizer, an antioxidant, and any other additives generally used to make golf balls.
  • The various polymer compositions used to prepare the golf balls of the present invention may also be further modified by addition of a monomeric aliphatic and/or aromatic amide as described in copending U.S. application Ser. No. 11/592,109 filed on Nov. 1, 2006 in the name of Hyun Kim et al., the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.
  • Golf balls within the scope of the present invention also can include, in suitable amounts, one or more additional ingredients generally employed in golf ball compositions. Agents provided to achieve specific functions, such as additives and stabilizers, can be present. Examplary suitable ingredients include colorants, antioxidants, colorants, dispersants, mold releasing agents, processing aids, fillers, and any and all combinations thereof. Although not required, UV stabilizers, or photo stabilizers such as substituted hydroxphenyl benzotriazoles may be utilized in the present invention to enhance the UV stability of the final compositions. An example of a commercially available UV stabilizer is the stabilizer sold by Ciba Geigy Corporation under the tradename TINUVIN.
  • The various formulations for the intermediate layer and/or cover layer may be produced using a twin-screw extruder or may be blended manually or mechanically prior to the addition to the injection molder feed hopper. Finished golf balls may be prepared by initially positioning the solid, preformed core in an injection-molding cavity, followed by uniform injection of the intermediate layer and/or cover layer composition sequentially over the core. The cover formulations can be injection molded around the cores to produce golf balls of the required diameter.
  • Alternatively, the cover layers may also be formed around the core by first forming half shells by injection molding followed by compression molding the half shells about the core to form the final ball.
  • Covers may also be formed around the cores using compression molding. Cover materials for compression molding may also be extruded or blended resins or castable resins such as polyurethane.
  • Typically the golf ball core is made by mixing together the unsaturated polymer, cross-linking agents, and other additives with or without melting them. Dry blending equipment, such as a tumbler mixer, V blender, ribbon blender, or two-roll mill, can be used to mix the compositions. The golf ball compositions can also be mixed using a mill, internal mixer such as a Banbury or Farrel continuous mixer, extruder or combinations of these, with or without application of thermal energy to produce melting. The various core components can be mixed together with the cross-linking agents, or each additive can be added in an appropriate sequence to the milled unsaturated polymer. In another method of manufacture the cross-linking agents and other components can be added to the unsaturated polymer as part of a concentrate using dry blending, roll milling, or melt mixing. If radiation is a cross-linking agent, then the mixture comprising the unsaturated polymer and other additives can be irradiated following mixing, during forming into a part such as the core of a ball, or after forming.
  • The resulting mixture can be subjected to, for example, a compression or injection molding process, to obtain solid spheres for the core. The polymer mixture is subjected to a molding cycle in which heat and pressure are applied while the mixture is confined within a mold. The cavity shape depends on the portion of the golf ball being formed. The compression and heat liberates free radicals by decomposing one or more peroxides, which initiate cross-linking. The temperature and duration of the molding cycle are selected based upon the type of peroxide and peptizer selected. The molding cycle may have a single step of molding the mixture at a single temperature for fixed time duration.
  • For example, a preferred mode of preparation for the cores used in the present invention is to first mix the core ingredients on a two-roll mill, to form slugs of approximately 30-40 g, and then compression-mold in a single step at a temperature between 150 to 180° C., for a time duration between 5 and 12 minutes.
  • The various core components may also be combined to form a golf ball by an injection molding process, which is also well known to one of ordinary skill in the art. The curing time depends on the various materials selected, and those of ordinary skill in the art will be readily able to adjust the curing time upward or downward based on the particular materials used and the discussion herein.
  • The golf ball of the present invention may comprise from 0 to 5, preferably from 0 to 3, more preferably from 1 to 3, most preferably 1 to 2 intermediate layer(s).
  • In one preferred aspect, at least one of the intermediate layers comprises the MBC described herein.
  • In one preferred aspect, the golf ball is a two-piece ball with the MBC used in the cover layer.
  • In another aspect the golf ball is a three-piece ball with the MBC used in the outer cover layer and the intermediate or mantle layer comprises a thermoplastic elastomer including a unimodal ionomer, a bimodal ionomer, a modified unimodal ionomer, a modified bimodal ionomer, a polyalkenamer, a polyamide, a thermoplastic or thermoset polyurethane, or any and all combinations thereof.
  • In another aspect the golf ball is a four-piece ball with the MBC used in the outer cover layer and at least one of the intermediate or mantle layers comprises a thermoplastic elastomer including a unimodal ionomer, a bimodal ionomer, a modified unimodal ionomer, a modified bimodal ionomer, a polyalkenamer, a polyamide, a thermoplastic or thermoset polyurethane, or any and all combinations thereof.
  • In another aspect the golf ball is a five-piece ball with the MBC used in the outer cover layer and at least one of the intermediate or mantle layer comprises a thermoplastic elastomer including a unimodal ionomer, a bimodal ionomer, a modified unimodal ionomer, a modified bimodal ionomer, a polyalkenamer, a polyamide, a thermoplastic or thermoset polyurethane, or any and all combinations thereof.
  • The MBC incorporates between about 85 to about 99, preferably between about 90 and about 98.5, and more preferably between about 92 and about 98 wt % of the block copolymer and between about 1 to about 15, preferably between about 1.5 and about 10, and more preferably between about 2 and about 8 wt % of the modifier (all percentages based on the combined weight of the MBC)
  • The MBC or blend of the MBC with one or more additional polymer components, used in the golf balls of the present invention has a material Shore D hardness of from about 25 to about 70, preferably from about 30 to about 65, more preferably from about 35 to about 60.
  • The MBC or blend of the MBC with one or more additional polymer components used in the golf balls of the present invention has a flexural modulus from about 500 to about 100,000, preferably from about 1,000 to about 80,000, more preferably from about 1,500 to about 60,000 psi.
  • The MBC or blend of the MBC with one or more additional polymer components used in the golf balls of the present invention has a tensile strength of from about 1,000 to about 10,000, preferably from about 1,500 to about 7,500, more preferably from about 2,000 to about 6,000 psi.
  • The MBC or blend of the MBC with one or more additional polymer components used in the golf balls of the present invention has a tensile elongation of from about 100 to about 1,000, preferably from about 150 to about 900, more preferably from about 200 to about 800%.
  • The melt index of the MBC or blend of the MBC with one or more additional polymer components used in the golf balls of the present invention is preferably greater 5, more preferably greater than 10, more preferably greater than 15, and even more preferably greater than 20 g/10 min measured at 230° C. under 2.16 kg load.
  • The core of the balls may have a diameter of from about 0.5 to about 1.62, preferably from about 0.7 to about 1.60, more preferably from about 1 to about 1.58, yet more preferably from about 1.20 to about 1.54, and most preferably from about 1.40 to about 1.50 in.
  • The core of the balls also may have a PGA compression of less than about 140, preferably less than about 120, more preferably less than about 100, yet more preferably less than about 90, and most preferably less than about 80.
  • The various core layers (including the center) may each exhibit a different hardness. The difference between the center hardness and that of the next adjacent layer, as well as the difference in hardness between the various core layers may be greater than 2, preferably greater than 5, most preferably greater than 10 units of Shore D.
  • In one preferred aspect, the hardness of the center and each sequential layer increases progressively outwards from the center to outer core layer.
  • In another preferred aspect, the hardness of the center and each sequential layer decreases progressively inwards from the outer core layer to the center.
  • The one or more intermediate layers of the golf balls may have a thickness of about 0.01 to about 0.50 or about 0.01 to about 0.20, preferably from about 0.02 to about 0.30 or from about 0.02 to about 0.15, more preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.20 or from about 0.03 to about 0.10, and most preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.10 or about 0.03 to about 0.06 in.
  • The one or more intermediate layers of the golf balls also may have a hardness as measured on the ball of greater than about 25, preferably greater than about 30, more preferably greater than about 40, and most preferably greater than about 50, Shore D units.
  • The cover layer of the balls may have a thickness of about 0.01 to about 0.10, preferably from about 0.02 to about 0.08, more preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.06 in.
  • The cover layer the balls may have a Shore D hardness as measured on the ball from about 35 to about 70, preferably from about 45 to about 70 or about 50 to about 70, more preferably from 47 to about 68 or about 45 to about 70, and most preferably from about 50 to about 65.
  • The COR of the golf balls may be greater than about 0.700, preferably greater than about 0.760, more preferably greater than about 0.780, even more preferably greater than 0.790, most preferably greater than 0.795, and especially greater than 0.800 at 125 ft/sec inbound velocity.
  • The shear cut resistance of the golf balls of the present invention is less than about 4, preferably less than about 3, even more preferably less than about 2.
  • EXAMPLES
  • Examples are given below by way of illustration and not by way of limitation.
  • The following materials were used to prepare the Examples and Comparative Example:
  • Septon HG252 is a hydrogenated styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS) block copolymer having a terminal OH group, manufactured by Kuraray Co.
  • Surlyn® 8150 is a grade of ionomer commercially available from DuPont.
  • Surlyn® 9150 is a grade of ionomer commercially available from DuPont.
  • ESCOR 5200 is an ethylene acrylic acid copolymer commercially available from Exxon Mobil Chemical.
  • NdBR40 is a cis-1,4-polybutadiene rubber made with a rare earth catalyst and commercially available from Enichem.
  • ZnO is a rubber grade zinc oxide purchased from Akrochem (Akron, Ohio).
  • ZDA are zinc diacrylates was purchased commercially from Sartomer under the tradenames SR416, and SR638, or Jinyang Chemical, under the tradename ZDA12.
  • Tetrachlorothiopyridine was purchased commercially from Jinyang Chemical.
  • BaSO4 is Poliwhite 200 barium sulfate purchased from Cinbar.
  • Varox 231-XL is 1,1-di(t-butylperoxy)-3,3,5-trimethyl-cyclohexane crosslinking initiator (**40% active peroxide). This is commercially available from R.T. Vanderbilt and is made by Atofina.
  • Trigonox 145 is 2,5-Dimethyl-2,5-di(tert-butylperoxy)hexyne crosslinkinginitiator, (**45% active peroxide). This is commercially available from Akzo Nobel.
  • Nanomer 1.24TL is a surface treated clay nanofiller, commercially available from Nanonocor Co.
  • Color concentrate is TiO2 with ionomer as binder.
  • Magnesium Oxide (MgO), and 12-aminododecanoic acid were purchased from Aldrich
  • The various test properties were measured using the test methods as defined below.
  • Core or ball diameter was determined by using standard linear calipers or size gauge.
  • Compression was measured by applying a spring-loaded force to the golf ball center, golf ball core, or the golf ball to be examined, with a manual instrument (an “Atti gauge”) manufactured by the Atti Engineering Company of Union City, N.J. This machine, equipped with a Federal Dial Gauge, Model D81-C, employs a calibrated spring under a known load. The sphere to be tested is forced a distance of 0.2 inch (5 mm) against this spring. If the spring, in turn, compresses 0.2 inch, the compression is rated at 100; if the spring compresses 0.1 inch, the compression value is rated as 0. Thus more compressible, softer materials will have lower Atti gauge values than harder, less compressible materials. Compression measured with this instrument is also referred to as PGA compression. The approximate relationship that exists between Atti or PGA compression and Riehle compression can be expressed as:

  • (Atti or PGA compression)=(160-Riehle Compression).
  • Thus, a Riehle compression of 100 would be the same as an Atti compression of 60.
  • COR was measured using a golf ball or golf ball subassembly, air cannon, and a stationary steel plate. The steel plate provides an impact surface weighing about 100 pounds or about 45 kilograms. A pair of ballistic light screens, which measure ball velocity, are spaced apart and located between the air cannon and the steel plate. The ball is fired from the air cannon toward the steel plate over a range of test velocities from 50 ft/s to 180 ft/sec (for the tests used herein the velocity was 125 ft/sec). As the ball travels toward the steel plate, it activates each light screen so that the time at each light screen is measured. This provides an incoming time period proportional to the ball's incoming velocity. The ball impacts the steel plate and rebounds though the light screens, which again measure the time period required to transit between the light screens. This provides an outgoing transit time period proportional to the ball's outgoing velocity. The coefficient of restitution can be calculated by the ratio of the outgoing transit time period to the incoming transit time period, COR=TOut/Tin.
  • A “Mooney” viscosity is a unit used to measure the plasticity of raw or unvulcanized rubber. The plasticity in a Mooney unit is equal to the torque, measured on an arbitrary scale, on a disk in a vessel that contains rubber at a temperature of 100° C. and rotates at two revolutions per minute. The measurement of Mooney viscosity is defined according to ASTM D-1646.
  • Shore D hardness was measured in accordance with ASTM Test D2240.
  • Melt flow index (I2) was measured in accordance with ASTM D-1238, Condition 230° C.12.16 kg.
  • Tensile strength, and tensile elongation was measured in accordance with ASTM standard D-638, and flexural modulus, using ASTM standard D-790.
  • Shear cut resistance was determined by examining the balls after they were impacted by a pitching wedge at controlled speed, classifying each numerically from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor), and averaging the results for a given ball type. Three samples of each Example were used for this testing. Each ball was hit twice, to collect two impact data points per ball. Then, each ball was assigned two numerical scores-one for each impact-from 1 (no visible damage) to 5 (substantial material displaced). These scores were then averaged for each Example to produce the shear resistance numbers below. These numbers could then be directly compared with the corresponding number for a commercially available ball, the Taylor Made TP Black having a similar construction including the same core and mantle composition and cover thickness but with a cast urethane cover, which under the same test conditions, had a rating of 1.62.
  • Examples 1 and 2
  • Two three-piece golf balls were prepared by initially compression molding a 1.42 in diameter core prepared from a mixture of NdBR40 cis 1,2-polybutadiene compounded with sufficient peroxide and zinc diacrylate (crosslinker and co-crosslinker respectively), techlorothiopyridine peptizer and BaSO4 and MgO filler to yield a core with a compression of approximately 50 PGA and a final weight of 29.7 g.
  • Around this core was then injection molded an intermediate layer or mantle made from a 50/50 wt % blend of two ionomer resins, Surlyn 8150 and Surlyn 9150 (commercially available from DuPont). The resulting mantled cores had a diameter of 1.62 inch with the mantle having a Shore D hardness as measured on the ball of 67D.
  • An outer cover layer was then injection molded around each mantled core. The outer cover layer was prepared from a blend of 65 wt % of ESCOR5200 ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer and 35 wt % of the hydroxylated styrene/butadiene block copolymer SEPTON HG252. In Example 1, the block copolymer was first modified with 2 wt % of 12-aminododecanoic acid and in the case of Example 2 by 5 wt % of 12-aminododecanoic acid prior to blending with the ethylene/acrylic acid copolymer. To each cover blend was then added a blend of zinc oxide and sodium carbonate in an amount sufficient to neutralize all of the acid groups in the ESCOR5200 blend component.
  • Comparative Example 1
  • In the case of Comparative Example 1, the golf ball was identical to those of Examples 1 and 2 other than that, rather than the MBC, the unmodified hydroxylated styrene/butadiene block copolymer SEPTON HG252 was used to prepare the cover blend.
  • The various physical properties and test data of the resulting golf balls are summarized in Table 1.
  • TABLE 1
    Three Piece Golf Ball Data with MBC in Cover
    Ex 1 Ex 2 Comp Ex 1
    Modified Styrenic Block
    Copolymer (“MBC”)
    HG252 SIS block copolymer 98 95
    (wt %)
    12-aminododecanoic acid 2 5
    modifier (wt %)
    Cover Compositions
    ESCOR5200 (wt %) 35 35 35
    MBC (wt %) 65 65
    HG252 (SIS block copolymer, 65
    wt %)
    Degree of Neutralization 100% 100% 100%
    Mechanical properties
    MFI (g/10 min) 11.2 11.1 8
    TS (psi) 2582 2697 2284
    TE (%) 517 516 421
    EM (kpsi) 0.3 0.3 0.32
    FS (psi) 151 159 149
    FM (kpsi) 18.2 18.8 17.1
    Shore D 40.5 44.1 40
    Mantle Compositions
    Surlyn 8150 50 50 50
    Surlyn 9150 50 50 50
    Mantle Physicals
    Pole Size (in) 1.6 1.6 1.6
    Compression (PGA) 86 86 86
    COR (125 ft/s) 0.815 0.815 0.815
    Shore D (on the ball) 71 71 71
    Ball Physicals
    Compression (PGA) 81 80 81
    COR (125 ft/s) 0.804 0.805 0.805
    Shore D 54.2 52.9 51.2
    Ball Performance
    Shear Value* 2.2 1.9 2.4
    160 mph Driver Spin
    Spin rate (rpm) 3086 3037 3157
    Speed (miles/hr) 160.1 160.4 159.6
    175 mph Driver Spin
    Spin rate (rpm) 3361 3253 3338
    Speed (miles/hr) 174.9 175.2 174.7
    *The NXT Tour ball commercially available from Titleist had a Shear Value of 4.8. The TP Black cast urethane covered golf ball available from Taylor Made Golf Co. Inc. had a Shear Value of 2.6.
  • Comparison of the data in Table 1 show that the modified block copolymer blends show improved processability over the unmodified analog as shown by the high melt index values while maintaining excellent tensile strength flex modulus and hardness properties. The resulting golf balls had excellent spin and ball velocities comparable to the unmodified analogs while exhibiting improved shear cut resistance comparable in performance to those of a premium golf ball having a cast urethane cover.
  • One aspect of the invention concerns a two-piece golf ball comprising a core and one cover layer, wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 90, and the core/cover layer combined construct has a PGA compression of at least 30.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a three-piece golf ball comprising a core, an intermediate mantle layer, and a cover layer; wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 80, and the core/intermediate mantle layer combined construct has a PGA compression of at least 30.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a core or core layers having diameter of from about 0.5 to about 1.62, preferably from about 0.7 to about 1.60, more preferably from about 1 to about 1.58, yet more preferably from about 1.20 to about 1.54, and most preferably from about 1.40 to about 1.50 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball having a PGA compression of less than about 140, preferably less than about 120, more preferably less than about 100, yet more preferably less than about 90, and most preferably less than about 80.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising core layer(s) surrounding and having a hardness difference between the center hardness and that of the next adjacent layer greater than 2, preferably greater than 5, most preferably greater than 10 units of Shore D.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising core layer(s) having a hardness difference between the core layers greater than 2, preferably greater than 5, most preferably greater than 10 units of Shore D.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball having the hardness of the center and each sequential layer increasing progressively outward from the center to outer core layer.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball having the hardness of the center and each sequential layer decreasing progressively inward from the outer core layer to the center.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a one or more intermediate layers having thickness of about 0.01 to about 0.50 or about 0.01 to about 0.20, preferably from about 0.02 to about 0.30 or from about 0.02 to about 0.15, more preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.20 or from about 0.03 to about 0.10, and most preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.10 or about 0.03 to about 0.06 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising one or more intermediate layers having a hardness as measured on the ball of greater than about 25, preferably greater than about 30, more preferably greater than about 40, and most preferably greater than about 50, Shore D units.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a cover layer having a thickness of about 0.01 to about 0.10, preferably from about 0.02 to about 0.08, more preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.06 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a cover layer having a Shore D hardness as measured on the ball from about 35 to about 70, preferably from about 45 to about 70 or about 50 to about 70, more preferably from 47 to about 68 or about 45 to about 70, and most preferably from about 50 to about 65.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising COR greater than about 0.700, preferably greater than about 0.760, more preferably greater than about 0.780, even more preferably greater than 0.790, even more preferably greater than 0.795, and more preferably greater than 0.800 at 125 ft/sec inbound velocity.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a core or core layers, one or more intermediate mantle layer, one or more outer mantle layer; and a cover layer;
  • wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 70, and the core/intermediate mantle layer/outer mantle layer combined construct has a PGA compression of at least 30.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a core or core layers having diameter of from about 0.5 to about 1.62, preferably from about 0.7 to about 1.60, more preferably from about 1 to about 1.58, yet more preferably from about 1.20 to about 1.54, and most preferably from about 1.40 to about 1.50 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a PGA compression of less than about 140, preferably less than about 120, more preferably less than about 100, yet more preferably less than about 90, and most preferably less than about 80.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising core layer(s) surrounding having a hardness difference between the center hardness and that of the next adjacent layer greater than 2, preferably greater than 5, most preferably greater than 10 units of Shore D.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising core layer(s) having a hardness difference between the core layers greater than 2, preferably greater than 5, most preferably greater than 10 units of Shore D.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising the hardness of the center and each sequential layer increasing progressively outward from the center to outer core layer.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising the hardness of the center and each sequential layer decreasing progressively inwards from the outer core layer to the center.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising one or more intermediate layers having thickness of about 0.01 to about 0.50 or about 0.01 to about 0.20, preferably from about 0.02 to about 0.30 or from about 0.02 to about 0.15, more preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.20 or from about 0.03 to about 0.10, and most preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.10 or about 0.03 to about 0.06 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising one or more intermediate layers having a hardness as measured on the ball of greater than about 25, preferably greater than about 30, more preferably greater than about 40, and most preferably greater than about 50, Shore D units.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a cover layer having a thickness of about 0.01 to about 0.10, preferably from about 0.02 to about 0.08, more preferably from about 0.03 to about 0.06 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising a cover layer having a Shore D hardness as measured on the ball from about 35 to about 70, preferably from about 45 to about 70 or about 50 to about 70, more preferably from 47 to about 68 or about 45 to about 70, and most preferably from about 50 to about 65.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising COR greater than about 0.700, preferably greater than about 0.760, more preferably greater than about 0.780, even more preferably greater than 0.790, even more preferably greater than 0.795, and more preferably greater than 0.800 at 125 ft/sec inbound velocity.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising (a) a core; (b) an inner mantle layer; (c) at least one intermediate mantle layer; (d) an outer mantle layer; and (e) at least one cover layer; wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 70, and the core/inner mantle layer/intermediate mantle layer combined construct has a PGA compression of at least 30.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 60.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 40.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each of the mantle layers each has a thickness of less than 0.080 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core/inner mantle layer/intermediate mantle layer combined construct has a PGA compression of at least 40.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core/inner mantle layer/intermediate mantle layer combined construct has a PGA compression of at least 50.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core/inner mantle layer/intermediate mantle layer combined construct has a PGA compression of 30 to 70.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the inner mantle layer, the intermediate mantle layer, the outer mantle layer, and the outer cover layer each individually comprises thermoset polyurethanes and thermoset polyureas, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, unimodal ionomers, bimodal ionomers, modified unimodal ionomers, modified bimodal ionomers, polyurethane ionomer, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic polyureas, polyamides, copolyamides, polyesters, copolyesters, polycarbonates, polyolefins, halogenated polyolefins, halogenated polyethylenes, polyphenylene oxide, polyphenylene sulfide, diallyl phthalate polymer, polyimides, polyvinyl chloride, polyamide-ionomer, polyvinyl alcohol, polyarylate, polyacrylate, polyphenylene ether, impact-modified polyphenylene ether, polystyrene, high impact polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylonitrile, styrene-maleic anhydride (S/MA) polymer, styrenic copolymer, functionalized styrenic copolymer, functionalized styrenic terpolymer, styrenic terpolymer, cellulose polymer, liquid crystal polymer (LCP), ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymer (EPDM), ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA), ethylene-propylene copolymer, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyurea, polysiloxane, a copolymer comprising at least one first co-monomer selected from butadiene, isoprene, ethylene or butylene and at least one second co-monomer selected from a (meth)acrylate or a vinyl arylene; or any and all combinations or mixtures thereof, a polyalkenamer rubber selected from the group consisting of polybutenamer rubber, polypentenamer rubber, polyhexenamer rubber, polyheptenamer rubber, polyoctenamer rubber, polynonenamer rubber, polydecenamer rubber polyundecenamer rubber, polydodecenamer rubber, polytridecenamer rubber and any and all combinations of such materials.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the outer mantle layer has a material Shore D hardness of at least 55 and a material flexural modulus of at least 35 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) has a Shore D hardness and the Shore D hardness of each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) increases from the core to the outer mantle layer.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) have a Shore D hardness and the Shore D hardness of each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) follows the relationships of (a)<(c)<(b)<(d), (a)<(b)<(d)<(c), (a)<(d)<(c)<(b), and (a)<(d)<(b)<(c).
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising (a) a core material having a PGA compression of less than 70 and a material flexural modulus of less than 20 kpsi; (b) an inner mantle layer material; (c) at least one intermediate mantle layer material; (d) an outer mantle layer material; and (e) at least one cover layer material; wherein the material of each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) have a material flexural modulus and the material flexural modulus of each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) increases from the core material to the outer mantle layer material such that each successive layer between the core material and the outer mantle layer material has a flexural modulus that is greater relative to the immediately adjacent inner layer material.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) have a flexural modulus and the flexural modulus of each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) follows the relationships of (a)<(c)<(b)<(d), (a)<(b)<(d)<(c), (a)<(d)<(c)<(b), and (a)<(d)<(b)<(c).
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core has a PGA compression of less than 40.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each of the mantle layers each has a thickness of less than 0.075 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the inner mantle layer has a material flexural modulus of 2 to 35 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the intermediate mantle layer has a material flexural modulus of 10 to 50 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the outer mantle layer has a material flexural modulus of 30 to 110 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core material has a flexural modulus of less than 10 kpsi and a PGA compression of less than 40.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the inner mantle layer, the intermediate mantle layer, the outer mantle layer, and the outer cover layer each individually comprises a thermoset polyurethanes and thermoset polyureas, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, unimodal ionomers, bimodal ionomers, modified unimodal ionomers, modified bimodal ionomers, polyurethane ionomer, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic polyureas, polyamides, copolyamides, polyesters, copolyesters, polycarbonates, polyolefins, halogenated polyolefins, halogenated polyethylenes, polyphenylene oxide, polyphenylene sulfide, diallyl phthalate polymer, polyimides, polyvinyl chloride, polyamide-ionomer, polyvinyl alcohol, polyarylate, polyacrylate, polyphenylene ether, impact-modified polyphenylene ether, polystyrene, high impact polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylonitrile, styrene-maleic anhydride (S/MA) polymer, styrenic copolymer, functionalized styrenic copolymer, functionalized styrenic terpolymer, styrenic terpolymer, cellulose polymer, liquid crystal polymer (LCP), ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymer (EPDM), ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA), ethylene-propylene copolymer, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyurea, polysiloxane, a copolymer comprising at least one first co-monomer selected from butadiene, isoprene, ethylene or butylene and at least one second co-monomer selected from a (meth)acrylate or a vinyl arylene; or any and all combinations or mixtures thereof, a polyalkenamer rubber selected from the group consisting of polybutenamer rubber, polypentenamer rubber, polyhexenamer rubber, polyheptenamer rubber, polyoctenamer rubber, polynonenamer rubber, polydecenamer rubber polyundecenamer rubber, polydodecenamer rubber, polytridecenamer rubber and any and all combinations of such materials.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the outer mantle layer has a material Shore D hardness of at least 55 and a flexural modulus of at least 55 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each successive layer between the core material and the outer mantle layer material has a flexural modulus that is greater by at least 3 kpsi relative to the immediately adjacent inner layer material.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a five-piece golf ball comprising: (a) a core material having a flexural modulus of less than 15 kpsi; (b) an inner mantle layer material adjacent to the core material, wherein the inner mantle layer material has a flexural modulus of 2-35 kpsi; (c) an intermediate mantle layer material adjacent to the inner mantle layer material, wherein the intermediate mantle layer material has a flexural modulus of 10-50 kpsi; (d) an outer mantle layer material adjacent to the intermediate mantle layer material, wherein the outer mantle layer material has a flexural modulus of 20-110 kpsi; and (e) an outer cover layer material.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core material has a flexural modulus of less than 8 kpsi, the inner mantle layer material has a flexural modulus of 5-25 kpsi, the intermediate mantle layer material has a flexural modulus of 15-45 kpsi, and the outer mantle layer has a flexural modulus of 35-80 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein there is an increasing material Shore D hardness from the core material to the outer mantle layer material, and an increasing flexural modulus from the core material to the outer mantle layer material.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the Shore D hardness and the flexural modulus of each of (a), (b), (c) and (d) follows the relationships of (a)<(c)<(b)<(d), (a)<(b)<(d)<(c), (a)<(d)<(c)<(b), and (a)<(d)<(b)<(c) 10.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core material has a PGA compression of less than 50.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein each of the mantle layers each has a thickness of less than 0.080 in.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the inner mantle layer, the intermediate mantle layer, the outer mantle layer, and the outer cover layer each individually comprises a thermoset polyurethanes and thermoset polyureas, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, unimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid copolymers, bimodal ethylene/carboxylic acid/carboxylate terpolymers, unimodal ionomers, bimodal ionomers, modified unimodal ionomers, modified bimodal ionomers, polyurethane ionomer, thermoplastic polyurethanes, thermoplastic polyureas, polyamides, copolyamides, polyesters, copolyesters, polycarbonates, polyolefins, halogenated polyolefins, halogenated polyethylenes, polyphenylene oxide, polyphenylene sulfide, diallyl phthalate polymer, polyimides, polyvinyl chloride, polyamide-ionomer, polyvinyl alcohol, polyarylate, polyacrylate, polyphenylene ether, impact-modified polyphenylene ether, polystyrene, high impact polystyrene, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN), acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylonitrile, styrene-maleic anhydride (S/MA) polymer, styrenic copolymer, functionalized styrenic copolymer, functionalized styrenic terpolymer, styrenic terpolymer, cellulose polymer, liquid crystal polymer (LCP), ethylene-propylene-diene terpolymer (EPDM), ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA), ethylene-propylene copolymer, ethylene vinyl acetate, polyurea, polysiloxane, a copolymer comprising at least one first co-monomer selected from butadiene, isoprene, ethylene or butylene and at least one second co-monomer selected from a (meth)acrylate or a vinyl arylene; or any and all combinations or mixtures thereof, a polyalkenamer rubber selected from the group consisting of polybutenamer rubber, polypentenamer rubber, polyhexenamer rubber, polyheptenamer rubber, polyoctenamer rubber, polynonenamer rubber, polydecenamer rubber polyundecenamer rubber, polydodecenamer rubber, polytridecenamer rubber and any and all combinations of such materials.
  • Another of the invention aspect concerns a golf ball wherein the outer mantle layer has a material Shore D hardness of at least 55 and a flexural modulus of at least 35 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the outer mantle layer material has a flexural modulus of 30-80 kpsi.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball comprising (a) a core having a PGA compression of less than 40; (b) an inner mantle layer; (c) an intermediate mantle layer; (d) an outer mantle layer; and (e) an outer cover layer; and wherein the golf ball has sufficient impact durability and a golf ball frequency of <4000 Hz.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the golf ball frequency is less than 3400 Hz.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the golf ball has a sound pressure level, S, of less than 81 dB.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core comprises polybutadiene; the inner mantle layer and the intermediate mantle layer each individually comprise a unimodal ionomer; a bimodal ionomer; a modified unimodal ionomer; a modified bimodal ionomer; a thermoset polyurethane; a polyester elastomer; a copolymer comprising at least one first co-monomer selected from butadiene, isoprene, ethylene, propylene or butylene and at least one second co-monomer selected from a (meth)acrylate or a vinyl arylene; a polyalkenamer; or any and all combinations or mixtures thereof; the outer mantle layer comprises a copolymer of ethylene and (meth)acrylic acid partially neutralized with a metal selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc, aluminum or a combination thereof; or a blend of a polyamide and at least one maleic anhydride grafted polyolefin; and the outer cover layer comprises a thermoset polyurethane; a thermoset polyurea; a polymer blend composition formed from a copolymer of ethylene and carboxylic acid as Component A, a hydroxyl-modified block copolymer of styrene and isoprene as Component B, and a metal cation as Component C; or a polymer blend composition formed from a copolymer of ethylene and carboxylic acid as Component A, a styrene-(ethylene-butylene)-styrene block copolymer as Component B, and a metal cation as Component C.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the polybutadiene of the core is obtained via a lanthanum rare earth catalyst.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the polybutadiene of the core further comprises a pyridine peptizer that also includes a chlorine functional group and a thiol functional group.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the inner mantle layer and the intermediate mantle layer each individually comprise polyoctenamer; a hydroxyl-modified block copolymer of styrene and isoprene; a high acid content modified ionomers; or a mixture thereof.
  • Another aspect of the invention concerns a golf ball wherein the core comprises polybutadiene; the inner mantle layer and the intermediate mantle layer each individually comprise a unimodal ionomer; a bimodal ionomer; a modified unimodal ionomer; a modified bimodal ionomer; a thermoset polyurethane; a polyester elastomer; a copolymer comprising at least one first co-monomer selected from butadiene, isoprene, ethylene, propylene or butylene and at least one second co-monomer selected from a (meth)acrylate or a vinyl arylene; a polyalkenamer; or any and all combinations or mixtures thereof; the outer mantle layer comprises a copolymer of ethylene and (meth)acrylic acid partially neutralized with a metal selected from the group consisting of lithium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, barium, lead, tin, zinc, aluminum or a combination thereof; or a blend of a polyamide and at least one maleic anhydride grafted polyolefin; and the outer cover layer comprises a thermoset polyurethane; a thermoset polyurea; a polymer blend composition formed from a copolymer of ethylene and carboxylic acid as Component A, a hydroxyl-modified block copolymer of styrene and isoprene as Component B, and a metal cation as Component C; or a polymer blend composition formed from a copolymer of ethylene and carboxylic acid as Component A, a styrene-(ethylene-butylene)-styrene block copolymer as Component B, and a metal cation as Component C.

Claims (18)

  1. 1. A golf ball, comprising:
    a core comprising a center;
    an outer cover layer;
    optionally one or more intermediate layers; and
    wherein one or more of the core, outer cover layer or one or more intermediate layers comprises a blend composition comprising
    (A) from about 85 to about 99 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of a block copolymer; and
    (B) from about 1 to about 15 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of one or more modifying agents selected from the group consisting of amino acids, aminotriazines, dicyandiamides and polyamines and any and all combinations thereof.
  2. 2. The golf ball according to claim 1 wherein one or more of the core, outer cover layer or one or more intermediate layers comprises a blend composition comprising:
    (A) from about 90 to about 98.5 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of a block copolymer comprising
    (a) a first polymer block having an aromatic vinyl compound, and
    (b) a second polymer block having an olefinic or a conjugated diene compound, or any combination thereof; and
    (B) from about 1.5 to about 10 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of one or more modifying agents selected from the group consisting of
    1) a compound having the general formula

    (R2N)m—R′—(X(O)n(OR)y)m,
     where R is hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic group; R′ is a bridging group comprising one or more C1-C20 straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, or C1-C20 substituted straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, or C1-C20 aromatic groups, or an oligomer of up to 12 repeating units, and X is C or S or P with the proviso that when X=C, n=1 and y=1 and when X=S, n=2 and y=1, and when X=P, n=0-1 and y=2 or 4, and m=1-3,
    2) an aminotriazene having the general formula
    Figure US20110159991A1-20110630-C00003
    where R1-R5 are independently aliphatic, substituted aliphatic, alkoxy, amine, aryl, substituted aryl, heteroaryl, substituted heteroaryl groups, hydrogen or halogen;
    3) a dicyandiamide having the general formula
    Figure US20110159991A1-20110630-C00004
    where R and R′ independently are hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety or substituted aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety, R is H, —CH3, —C2H5, —C6H5, —CH2X, —C2H4X, —C6H4X, —CH2C6H4X, —CH2CH2C6H4X, or any and all combinations thereof, and where X is hydrogen, a methyl group, an ethyl group, a methoxy group, an ethoxy group, an amino group and a dimethylamino group;
    4) a polyamine; and
    5) any and all combinations thereof.
  3. 3. The golf ball according to claim 1 wherein one the core, outer cover layer or one or more intermediate layers comprises a blend composition comprising:
    (A) from about 92 to about 98 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of a block copolymer comprising
    (a) a first polymer block selected from the group consisting of styrene, α-methylstyrene, o-, m- or p-methylstyrene, 4-propylstyrene, 1,3-dimethylstyrene vinylnaphthalene and vinylanthracene; and
    (b) a second polymer block having an olefinic group selected from the group consisting of ethylene, propylene, and butene or a conjugated diene compound, selected from the group consisting of 1,3-butadiene, isoprene, 2,3-dimethyl-1,3-butadiene, 1,3-pentadiene and 1,3-hexadiene and any combination thereof; and
    (B) from about 2 to about 8 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of one or more modifying agents selected from the group consisting of
    1) 4,4′-methylene-bis-(cyclohexylamine)carbamate, 11-aminoundecanoic acid, 12-aminododecanoic acid, epsilon-caprolactam; omega-caprolactam, and any and all combinations thereof;
    2) guanamine, 6-methyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (acetoguanamine), 6-nonyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (nonylguanamine), 6-phenyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (benzoguanamine), or 2,4,6-triamino-triazine (melamine) and any and all combinations thereof;
    3) dicyandiamide, N-benzyldicyandiamide, N-(4-methylbenzyl)dicyandiamide, N-(4-methoxybenzyl)dicyandiamide, N-phenethyldicyandiamide; N-(4-methylphenethyl)dicyandiamide; and N-(4-methoxyphenethyl)dicyandiamide and any and all combinations thereof;
    4) any and all combinations thereof.
  4. 4. The golf ball according to claim 3 wherein the outer cover layer has a Shore D hardness as measured on the ball of from about 35 to about 70 and comprises a blend composition comprising:
    (A) a block copolymer selected from the group consisting of
    styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS), styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene, (SEBS) and styrene-ethylene/propylene-styrene (SEPS), a hydrogenated hydroxyl functionalized styrene-isoprene-styrene; and any combination thereof; and
    (B) one or more modifying agents selected from the group consisting of, 11-aminoundecanoic acid, 12-aminododecanoic guanamine, dicyandiamide, and any and all combinations thereof, and further comprises
    (C) one or more additional polymers selected from the group consisting of olefin/unsaturated acid containing polymer including the ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid copolymers and ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid/alkyl(meth)acrylate terpolymers, or ethylene and/or propylene maleic anhydride copolymers and terpolymers, a unimodal ionomer or a bimodal ionomer or a modified unimodal ionomer or a modified bimodal ionomer or any and all combinations thereof; and
    wherein the blend composition has a melt index of greater than about 3 g/10 min, a flexural modulus of from about 500 to about 100,000 psi, a material Shore D hardness of from about 25 to about 70.
  5. 5. The golf ball according to claim 1, wherein core, one of the intermediate layers, and outer cover layer comprise a polyalkenamer rubber selected from the group consisting of polybutenamer rubber, polypentenamer rubber, polyhexenamer rubber, polyheptenamer rubber, polyoctenamer rubber, polynonenamer rubber, polydecenamer rubber polyundecenamer rubber, polydodecenamer rubber, polytridecenamer rubber and any and all combinations thereof.
  6. 6. A golf ball, comprising:
    a core comprising a center;
    an outer cover layer;
    optionally one or more intermediate layers; and
    wherein one or more of the core, outer cover layer or one or more intermediate layers comprises a modified resin made by a method comprising reacting an amine-functionalized modifier with a block copolymer having at least one block A comprising an aromatic vinyl compound and at least one polymer block B comprising a hydrogenated diene compound, with or without having a hydroxyl group at the terminal of the block copolymer.
  7. 7. The golf ball according to claim 6 further comprising blending the modified resin with a non-neutralized copolymeric or terpolymeric olefin-containing acid.
  8. 8. The golf ball according to claim 7 further comprising at least partially neutralizing the acid.
  9. 9. The golf ball according to claim 6 further comprising fully neutralizing the acid.
  10. 10. The golf ball according to claim 6 further comprising blending the modified resin with a partially or fully neutralized copolymeric or terpolymeric olefin-containing acid.
  11. 11. The golf ball according to claim 6 wherein the block copolymer is a styrenic block copolymer.
  12. 12. The golf ball according to claim 6 wherein the amine-functionalized modifier is selected from amino acids, aminotriazines, dicyandiamides, polyamines, and any and all combinations thereof.
  13. 13. The golf ball according to claim 6 where the modified resin is made by a method comprising reacting:
    (A) from about 85 to about 99 wt % (based on combined weight of Components A and B) of a block copolymer; and
    (B) from about 1 to about 15 wt % (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of one or more amine-functionalized modifiers selected from the group consisting of amino acids, aminotriazines, dicyandiamides and polyamines and any and all combinations thereof.
  14. 14. The golf ball according to claim 6 where the modified resin is made by a method comprising reacting:
    (A) from about 90 to about 98.5 wt % (based on combined weight of Components A and B) of a block copolymer comprising
    (a) a first polymer block having an aromatic vinyl compound, and
    (b) a second polymer block having an olefinic or a conjugated diene compound, or any combination thereof;
     with
    (B) from about 1.5 to about 10 wt (based on the combined weight of Components A and B) of one or more amine-functionalized modifiers selected from the group consisting of
    1) a compound having the general formula

    (R2N)m—R′—(X(O)—(OR)y)m—,
     where R is hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic group; R′ is a bridging group comprising one or more C1-C20 straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, or C1-C20 substituted straight chain or branched aliphatic or alicyclic groups, or C1-C20 aromatic groups, or an oligomer of up to 12 repeating units, and X is C or S or P with the proviso that when X=C, n=1 and y=1 and when X=S, n=2 and y=1, and when X=P, n=0-1 and y=2 or 4, and m=1-3,
    2) an aminotriazene having the general formula
    Figure US20110159991A1-20110630-C00005
    where R1-R5 are independently aliphatic, substituted aliphatic, alkoxy, amine, aryl, substituted aryl, heteroaryl, substituted heteroaryl groups, hydrogen or halogen;
    3) a dicyandiamide having the general formula
    Figure US20110159991A1-20110630-C00006
    where R and R′ independently are hydrogen, or a C1-C20 aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety or substituted aliphatic, cycloaliphatic or aromatic moiety, R is H, —CH3, —C2H5, —C6H5, —CH2X, —C2H4X, —C6H4X, —CH2C6H4X, —CH2CH2C6H4X, or any and all combinations thereof, and where X is hydrogen, a methyl group, an ethyl group, a methoxy group, an ethoxy group, an amino group and a dimethylamino group;
    4) a polyamine; and
    5) any and all combinations thereof.
  15. 15. The golf ball according to claim 6 where the amine-functionalized modifier is selected from 4,4′-methylene-bis-(cyclohexylamine)carbamate, 11-aminoundecanoicacid, 12-aminododecanoic acid, epsilon-caprolactam; omega-caprolactam, guanamine, 6-methyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (acetoguanamine), 6-nonyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (nonylguanamine), 6-phenyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (benzoguanamine), 2,4,6-triamino-triazine (melamine), dicyandiamide, N-benzyldicyandiamide, N-(4-methylbenzyl)dicyandiamide, N-(4-methoxybenzyl)dicyandiamide, N-phenethyldicyandiamide; N-(4-methylphenethyl)dicyandiamide; N-(4-methoxyphenethyl)dicyandiamide, and any and all combinations thereof.
  16. 16. The golf ball according to claim 6 wherein:
    the block copolymer is selected from the group consisting of styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS), styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene, (SEBS), styrene-ethylene/propylene-styrene (SEPS), a hydrogenated hydroxyl functionalized styrene-isoprene-styrene, and any combination thereof; and
    the amine-functionalized modifier is selected from the group consisting of 11-aminoundecanoicacid, 12-aminododecanoic guanamine, dicyandiamide, and any and all combinations thereof.
  17. 17. The golf ball according to claim 6 wherein the modified resin further comprises one or more additional polymers selected from the group consisting of ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid copolymers, ethylene/(meth)acrylic acid/alkyl(meth)acrylate terpolymers, ethylene maleic anhydride copolymers and terpolymers, propylene maleic anhydride copolymers and terpolymers, a unimodal ionomer, a bimodal ionomer, a modified unimodal ionomer, a modified bimodal ionomer, or any and all combinations thereof; and
    wherein the blend composition has a melt index of greater than about 3 g/10 min, a flexural modulus of from about 500 to about 100,000 psi, and a material Shore D hardness of from about 25 to about 70.
  18. 18. The golf ball according to claim 6 wherein at least one of the core, intermediate layers and outer cover layer comprises a polyalkenamer rubber selected from the group consisting of polybutenamer rubber, polypentenamer rubber, polyhexenamer rubber, polyheptenamer rubber, polyoctenamer rubber, polynonenamer rubber, polydecenamer rubber polyundecenamer rubber, polydodecenamer rubber, polytridecenamer rubber, and any and all combinations thereof.
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