Continuity development in polymer blends of very low interfacial tension

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Journal titlePolymer
Pages27602771; # of pages: 12
SubjectPolymer blends; Co-continuous morphology
AbstractPhase continuity development and co-continuous morphologies are highly influenced by the nature of the interface in immiscible polymer blends. Blends of ethylene–propylene–diene terpolymer (EPDM) and polypropylene (PP) possess an interfacial tension of about 0.3 mN/m and provide an interesting model system to study the detailed morphology development in a very low interfacial tension binary system. A variety of blends with viscosity ratios of 0.2–5.0 and shear stresses of 11.7–231.4 kPa were considered. Using a variety of sophisticated morphology protocols it is shown that at low blend compositions, the dispersed phase actually exists as stable fibers of extremely small diameter of 50–200 nm and the continuity develops by fiber–fiber coalescence. An analysis using break-up times from Tomotika theory also supports the notion of highly stable dispersed fiber formation. These results challenge the current view of the dispersed phase as small spherical droplets. It is shown, under these conditions, that a seven-fold variation in the viscosity ratio has virtually no influence on%continuity or morphology, while a large change in the matrix shear stress from 11.7 to 90.9 kPa has an important effect on pore diameter. Both sides of the continuity diagram are studied and highly symmetrical continuity behavior is observed with composition. In fact a single master continuity curve is observed for these blends varying in viscosity ratio from 0.7–5.0 and with shear stresses from 11.7–90.9 kPa. Although the glass transition temperatures indicate that these materials are completely immiscible after melt mixing and cooling, it is shown that the blends demonstrate the morphological features of a partially miscible system. These results support a concept that the blend was partially miscible during melt blending, at which time the gross morphological features of the blend were developed, but becomes fully phase separated upon cooling. It appears that the quenching of the EPDM/PP blend from the melt is rapid enough to preserve the imprint of that partial miscibility on the gross blend morphology.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); NRC Industrial Materials Institute
Peer reviewedYes
NRC number53714
NPARC number15884128
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Record identifier3ffb08b6-b070-496f-a0a1-ada0c82ccbe3
Record created2010-07-30
Record modified2016-05-09
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