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Morphology and confinement effects on crystallization kinetics in polyethylene containing block copolymers

Published in the journal Polymer

Authors: Maryam Safari,  Connie Ocando,  Yilong Liao,  Markus Drechsler,  Nina Volk,  Roman Schaller,  Martin Held,  Volker Abetz, Holger Schmalz,  Alejandro Müller

This paper investigates the morphology and crystallization kinetics of polyethylene (PE) containing block copolymers, differing in block number (di- vs. triblock copolymers) and composition (ABA triblock co- vs. ABC triblock terpolymers). In these block copolymers, the crystallizable PE block is linked to amorphous poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and/or polystyrene (PS) blocks, and for one triblock terpolymer, poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) was introduced as an additional crystallizable block. The topological confinement exerted by the covalent linkage of PE to the other blocks (glassy PMMA and PS, PEO) in combination with the morphological confinement into different PE microdomains (cylinders, lamella) significantly influence the crystallization behavior, resulting in slower crystallization kinetics compared to pure PE. The strongest effects were observed for triblock terpolymers, where the lamellar PE domains are disrupted by PS cylinders or distorted PS domains. This research enhances our understanding of block copolymers with confined crystallizable segments, aiding in tailored material design.

Volker Abetz
Volker Abetz

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