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Multiwalled-carbon-nanotube-induced miscibility in near-critical PS/PVME blends: assessment through concentration fluctuations and segmental relaxation

Xavier, Priti and Bose, Suryasarathi (2013) Multiwalled-carbon-nanotube-induced miscibility in near-critical PS/PVME blends: assessment through concentration fluctuations and segmental relaxation. In: Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 117 (28). pp. 8633-8646.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jp404610w


The effects of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) on the concentration fluctuations, interfacial driven elasticity, phase morphology, and local segmental dynamics of chains for near-critical compositions of polystyrene/poly(vinyl to methyl ether) (PS/PVME) blends were systematically investigated using dynamic shear rheology and dielectric spectroscopy. The contribution of the correlation length (xi) of the concentration fluctuations to the evolving stresses was monitored in situ to probe the different stages of demixing in the blends. The classical upturn in the dynamic moduli was taken as the rheological demixing temperature (T-rheo), which was also observed to be in close agreement with those obtained using concentration fluctuation variance, <(delta phi)(2)>, versus temperature curves. Further, Fredrickson and Larson's approach involving the mean-field approximation and the double-reptation self-concentration (DRSC) model was employed to evaluate the spinodal decomposition temperature (T-s). Interestingly, the values of both T-rheo and T-s shifted upward in the blends in the presence of MWNTs, manifesting in molecular-level miscibility. These phenomenal changes were further observed to be a function of the concentration of MWNTs. The evolution of morphology as a function of temperature was studied using polarized optical microscopy (POM). It was observed that PVME, which evolved as an interconnected network during the early stages of demixing, coarsened into a matrix-droplet morphology in the late stages. The preferential wetting of PVME onto MWNTs as a result of physicochemical interactions retained the interconnected network of PVME for longer time scales, as supported by POM and atomic force microscopy (AFM) images. Microscopic heterogeneity in macroscopically miscible systems was studied by dielectric relaxation spectroscopy. The slowing of segmental relaxations in PVME was observed in the presence of both ``frozen'' PS and MWNTs interestingly at temperatures much below the calorimetric glass transition temperature (T-g). This phenomenon was observed to be local rather than global and was addressed by monitoring the evolution of the relaxation spectra near and above the demixing temperature.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to American Chemical Society.
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Materials Engineering (formerly Metallurgy)
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2013 13:05
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2013 13:05
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/47257

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