Two-component blends of differing polystyrene (PS), one syndiotactic (sPS) and the other isotactic (iPS) or atactic (aPS), were discussed. The phase behavior, crystallization and microstructure of binary polystyrene blends of sPS/iPS and sPS/aPS with a specific composition of 5/5 weight ratio were investigated using optical microscopy (OM), differential scanning calorimetry, wide-angle X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM). Based on the kinetics of enthalpy recovery, complete miscibility was found for the sPS/aPS blends where a single recovery peak was obtained, whereas phase separation was concluded for the sPS/iPS blends due to the presence of an additional recovery shoulder indicating the heterogeneity in the molten state. These findings were consistent with OM and SEM observations; sPS/iPS exhibits the dual interconnectivity of phase-separated phases resulting from spinodal decomposition. Both iPS and aPS have the same influence on the sPS crystal structure, i.e., dominant β-form sPS and mixed α-/β-form sPS obtained for melt-crystallization at high and low temperatures respectively, but imperfect α-form sPS developed when cold-crystallized at 175°C. Co-crystallization of iPS and sPS into the common lattice was not observed regardless the thermal treatments, either cold or melt crystallization. Due to its slow process, crystallization of iPS was found to commence always after the completion of sPS crystallization in one-step crystallization kinetics. Segregation of rejected iPS component during sPS crystallization was extensively observed from TEM and SEM images which showed iPS pockets located between sPS lamellar stacks within spherulites, leading to the interfibrillar segregation, which was similar with that observed in the sPS/aPS blends. The addition of iPS (or aPS) component will reduce the overall crystallization rate of the sPS component and the retardation of crystal growth rates can be simply accounted by a dilution effect, keeping the surface nucleation intact. The phase-separated structure in the sPS/iPS blend shows a negligible effect on sPS crystallization and the signature of phase separation disappears after sPS crystallization. Depending on the relative dimensions of the segregated domains and iPS lamellar nucleus, subsequent crystallization of iPS can proceed to result in a crystalline/crystalline blend, or be inhibited to give a crystalline/amorphous blend morphology similar with that of sPS/aPS blends.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry