Phase Behavior of Polyelectrolyte Block Copolymers in Mixed Solvents
We have studied the phase behavior of the poly(n-butyl acrylate)-b-poly(acrylic acid) block copolymer in a mixture of two miscible solvents, water and tetrahydrofuran (THF). The techniques used to examine the different polymers, structures and phases formed in mixed solvents were static and dynamic light scattering, small-angle neutron scattering, nuclear magnetic resonance and fluorescence microscopy. By lowering the water/THF mixing ratio X, the sequence unimers, micron-sized droplets, polymeric micelles was observed. The transition between unimers and the micron-sized droplets occurred at X = 0.75, whereas the microstructuration into core-shell polymeric micelles was effective below X = 0.4. At intermediate mixing ratios, a coexistence between the micron-sized droplets and the polymeric micelles was observed. Combining the different aforementioned techniques, it was concluded that the droplet dispersion resulted from a solvent partitioning that was induced by the hydrophobic blocks. Comparison of poly(n-butyl acrylate) homopolymers and poly(n-butyl acrylate)-b-poly(acrylic acid) block copolymers suggested that the droplets were rich in THF and concentrated in copolymers and that they were stabilized by the hydrophilic poly(acrylic acid) moieties.
- Pub Date:
- March 2008
- Condensed Matter - Soft Condensed Matter;
- Condensed Matter - Materials Science
- 11 pages, 12 figures, to appear in Macromolecules