A ternary blend system of polystyrene (aPS), poly(α-methyl styrene) (PαMS), and poly(4-methyl styrene) (P4MS) (blends of three styrenic homopolymers of similar molecular structures) was investigated by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarized-light optical microscopy (POM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and solid-state 13C cross-polarization/magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (CP/MAS NMR). This ternary system of aPS/PαMS/P4MS exhibits a small miscibility loop only at relatively high percentages of PαMS (≥80%), while most of the aPS/PαMS/P4MS compositions exhibit two coexisting aPS/PαMS and aPS/P4MS phases in the immiscibility loop. In the immiscible loop, SEM measurements revealed evidence in contrasting with DSC for criteria of miscibility. DSC characterization revealed a single Tg for most ternary blend compositions; however, SEM graphs apparently indicated sub-micron phase domains, except for several PαMS-rich compositions (>80%). The T1 H and T1ρH techniques using NMR were found to resolve the dilemma between the conventional thermal analysis and microscopy results, and indeed supported that the ternary blends at above 80% PαMS are completely homogeneous on the molecular level. Attempts have been made to resolve the seemingly contradictory interpretations on the complex ternary phase structures and domains from the DSC, and microscopy results.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes