Analytic PRISM Theory of Structurally Asymmetric Polymer Blends and Copolymers

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Analytic PRISM theory with the new molecular closures is applied to determine the effective chi-parameters and spinodal instability curves for structurally asymmetric polymer alloys. Compressibility effects are found to be very important, and the use of a literal incompressible RPA-like approximation is shown to incur qualitative errors in most cases. A rich and nonadditive dependence of phase transition temperatures and apparent SANS chi-parameters on backbone stiffness asymmetry, attractive interaction potential asymmetry, and thermodynamic variables is found for binary homopolymer blends. A novel strategy for designing miscible mixtures based on a cancellation, or `compensation', of the relevant asymmetries is identified. The influence of chain stiffness asymmetry in blends characterized by specific interactions is also studied. Generalization of the analytic PRISM theory to mixtures of random copolymers and periodic block copolymer melts is presented. All the rich behavior predicted for phase-separating homopolymer mixtures is again found for these systems, plus additional non mean field effects associated with random copolymer composition and block architecture. The theory is applied semiquantitatively to interpret recent experiments on polyolefin blends, diblock copolymers, and random copolymer alloys. Theoretical predictions are made which qualitatively account for recent experimental observations of a strong influence of stiffness asymmetry on phase separation temperatures, and the breakdown of the mean field random copolymer approach. Anomalous behavior is also predicted for deuterated mixtures due to an interference between the consequences of stiffness asymmetry and enthalpic interactions. The physical mechanism for the many non-Flory-Huggins effects predicted by the compressible PRISM theory is local, scalar density correlations, which appears to be different then the `nematic fluctuation' mechanism suggested by recent field theoretic work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6050-6067
Number of pages18
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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