Control of Morphology in Polymer Blends through Light Self-Trapping: An in Situ Study of Structure Evolution, Reaction Kinetics, and Phase Separation

Saeid Biria, Ian Dean Hosein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report on how polymer morphology is controlled through the self-trapping of transmitted optical beams in photoreactive polymer blends. Self-trapped optical beams, characterized by divergence-free propagation, drives the growth of a congruent arrangement of polymer filaments in the blends. With suitable component weight fractions and exposure intensity, binary phase morphologies form in precisely the same pattern as the beams’ arrangement, thereby producing 2D structures in polymer blend volumes of large depth and area. Morphology evolution and the formation processes were observed by in situ microscopy. In situ confocal Raman measurements of polymer conversion and molecular weight increase along the filament regions reveal that polymerization undergoes autoacceleration, followed by the onset of mixing instability which leads to phase separation. These phenomena begin at the front end of the filament and propagate along its length over the depth of the blend. Control over morphology is discussed with respect to the competitive processes of phase separation and photo-cross-linking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3617-3626
Number of pages10
JournalMacromolecules
Volume50
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 9 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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