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Published May 15, 2003 | Published
Journal Article Open

Nucleation in binary polymer blends: Effects of adding diblock copolymers


The effects of adding AB diblock copolymers to A/B binary blends on the structure and thermodynamics of critical nuclei are studied using the self-consistent field theory. At a fixed ratio of the amount of the two homopolymers, depending on the degree of polymerization and composition of the diblocks, their addition to the blends can either increase or decrease the nucleation free energy barrier relative to the pure A/B blends. The qualitative trend can be deduced from the shift in the coexistence boundary and the spinodal. The distribution of diblock copolymers in critical nuclei depends on the composition of the diblocks and the quench depth. Near the coexistence, symmetric diblocks exhibit surfactant behavior, being highly concentrated on the interface of the critical nuclei. Near the spinodal, they act more like co-solvent with a relatively uniform distribution.

Additional Information

©2003 American Institute of Physics. (Received 24 January 2003; accepted 20 February 2003) Financial support by the NSF of China and the Special Project for Fundamental Researches of the Ministry of Science and Technology is acknowledged. Z.G.W. acknowledges support by the US National Science Foundation (DMR-9970589).

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