Tricontinuous Morphology of Ternary Polymer Blends Driven by Photopolymerization: Reaction and Phase Separation Kinetics

Significance statement

“For the first time, phase separation kinetics of a ternary polymer mixture was in situ monitored by laser-scanning confocal microscopy”

Journal Reference

Macromolecules, 2014, 47 (13), pp 4380–4386. 

Toshiya Shukutani , Takahiro Myojo , Hideyuki Nakanishi , Tomohisa Norisuye , and Qui Tran-Cong-Miyata *

 Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan.

 

Abstract

Phase separation of a ternary mixture composed of poly(ethyl acrylate) and poly(ethyl methacrylate) derivatives dissolved in methyl methacrylate monomer was induced and driven by photopolymerization. Upon varying the initial composition of the mixture and the molecular weight of the resulting poly(methyl methacrylate) via changing the light intensity, a wide variety of morphologies ranging from separated double droplets, Janus-like droplets, core–shell, salami, bicontinuous to tricontinuous structures emerged due to the competition between phase separation and polymerization. Among the emerging morphologies, the tricontinuous structures were significant, and the details of the formation process were particularly investigated by using laser-scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM). Time-resolved experiments reveal that these tricontinuous structures were generated via two steps of the consecutive phase separation process. The formation of these tricontinuous structures is discussed with respect to the polymerization kinetics, the resulting molecular weight, and the residual monomer in the polymerizing mixture.

Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

 

 

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