Date of Award

5-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Chemistry

Major Professor

Mark D. Dadmun

Committee Members

Jeffrey D. Kovac, John F. Turner, Kevin M. Kit

Abstract

The compatbilization of polymer blends via reactive compatibilization and block copolymers was studied. The result presented in this thesis suggest that the process of reactive compatibiliaztion provides a mechanism by which blocky copolymeric compatibilizers can be formed during processing, as demonstrated by the changes in the mechanical and optical properties of the phase separated polymer blends. The results also show, however, that the presence of unreacted smaller oligomers can act as a plasticizer in the blend and can thus detrimentally affect the mechanical properties of the blend if any remains after processing. Careful control of the mixing conditions or post processing thermal annealing is required to minimize this potentially deleterious effect. However, the data presented here suggest that this optimization is possible. In addition, the compatibilization of polymer blends with blocky, random, and alternating copolymer was studied. Depth profiling of polymer samples containing copolymers as compatibilizers was achieved with FRES (forward recoil spectroscopy) and neutron reflectivity and the results were compared with fracture toughness data that was previously reported. The results show that molecular weight of the alternating copolymer as well as the molecular weight of block segments in block copolymers are important parameters for copolymers to act as compatibilizers.

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