This study investigated the macrophase and microphase transitions of blends comprising polystyrene-block-poly(ethylene oxide) (PS-b-PEO) and polystyrene-block-poly(acrylic acid) (PS-b-PAA). PEO and PAA molecules formed hydrogen bonds that enabled the two block copolymers to organize into a single microphase-separated morphology composed of two PS block chains in a common PS microdomain and PEO and PAA block chains in a coexisting PEO/PAA microdomain. Increasing temperature weakened the hydrogen-bonding interaction through the formation of PAA monomers and anhydride, causing the blends to macrophase separate into PS-b-PEO-rich and PS-b-PAA-rich phases. Further increasing the temperature weakened the repulsive interactions between both the PS and PEO segments and the PS and PAA segments, inducing order-to-disorder transitions in the PS-b-PEO-rich and PS-b-PAA-rich phases. However, the increasing repulsive interaction between the PEO and PAA segments with increasing temperature prevented the blends from forming an isotropic phase. The unique phase transformation of each block copolymer in the blend with an upper critical ordering transition (UCOT)-type interaction parameter, which caused the formation of a lower-critical-solution-temperature-type phase diagram, was attributed to the hydrogen-bonding interaction between PEO and PAA, which outweighed the UCOT behaviors of PS-b-PEO and PS-b-PAA and reversed the phase behaviors of their blends.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry