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Polymers (Basel) ; 13(18)2021 Sep 16.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34578032


The morphology and crystallization behavior of two triblock terpolymers of polymethylene, equivalent to polyethylene (PE), poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO), and poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) are studied: PE227.1-b-PEO4615.1-b-PCL3210.4 (T1) and PE379.5-b-PEO348.8-b-PCL297.6 (T2) (superscripts give number average molecular weights in kg/mol and subscripts composition in wt %). The three blocks are potentially crystallizable, and the triple crystalline nature of the samples is investigated. Polyhomologation (C1 polymerization), ring-opening polymerization, and catalyst-switch strategies were combined to synthesize the triblock terpolymers. In addition, the corresponding PE-b-PEO diblock copolymers and PE homopolymers were also analyzed. The crystallization sequence of the blocks was determined via three independent but complementary techniques: differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), in situ SAXS/WAXS (small angle X-ray scattering/wide angle X-ray scattering), and polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM). The two terpolymers (T1 and T2) are weakly phase segregated in the melt according to SAXS. DSC and WAXS results demonstrate that in both triblock terpolymers the crystallization process starts with the PE block, continues with the PCL block, and ends with the PEO block. Hence triple crystalline materials are obtained. The crystallization of the PCL and the PEO block is coincident (i.e., it overlaps); however, WAXS and PLOM experiments can identify both transitions. In addition, PLOM shows a spherulitic morphology for the PE homopolymer and the T1 precursor diblock copolymer, while the other systems appear as non-spherulitic or microspherulitic at the last stage of the crystallization process. The complicated crystallization of tricrystalline triblock terpolymers can only be fully grasped when DSC, WAXS, and PLOM experiments are combined. This knowledge is fundamental to tailor the properties of these complex but fascinating materials.

Macromolecules ; 54(15): 7244-7257, 2021 Aug 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35663800


We investigate for the first time the morphology and crystallization of two novel tetrablock quarterpolymers of polyethylene (PE), poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO), poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), and poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) with four potentially crystallizable blocks: PE18 7.1 -b-PEO37 15.1 -b-PCL26 10.4 -b-PLLA19 7.6 (Q1) and PE29 9.5 -b-PEO26 8.8 -b-PCL23 7.6 -b-PLLA22 7.3 (Q2) (superscripts give number average molecular weights in kg/mol, and subscripts give the composition in wt %). Their synthesis was performed by a combination of polyhomologation (C1 polymerization) and ring-opening polymerization techniques using a ″catalyst-switch″ strategy, either ″organocatalyst/metal catalyst switch″ (Q1 sample, 96% isotactic tetrads) or ″organocatalyst/organocatalyst switch″ (Q2 sample, 84% isotactic tetrads). Their corresponding precursors-triblock terpolymers PE-b-PEO-b-PCL, diblock copolymers PE-b-PEO, and PE homopolymers-were also studied. Cooling and heating rates from the melt at 20 °C/min were employed for most experiments: differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM), in situ small-angle X-ray scattering/wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The direct comparison of the results obtained with these different techniques allows the precise identification of the crystallization sequence of the blocks upon cooling from the melt. SAXS indicated that Q1 is melt miscible, while Q2 is weakly segregated in the melt but breaks out during crystallization. According to WAXS and DSC results, the blocks follow a sequence as they crystallize: PLLA first, then PE, then PCL, and finally PEO in the case of the Q1 quarterpolymer; in Q2, the PLLA block is not able to crystallize due to its low isotacticity. Although the temperatures at which the PEO and PCL blocks and the PE and PLLA blocks crystallize overlap, the analysis of the intensity changes measured by WAXS and PLOM experiments allows identifying each of the crystallization processes. The quarterpolymer Q1 remarkably self-assembles during crystallization into tetracrystalline banded spherulites, where four types of different lamellae coexist. Nanostructural features arising upon sequential crystallization are found to have a relevant impact on the mechanical properties. Nanoindentation measurements show that storage modulus and hardness of the Q1 quarterpolymer significantly deviate from those of the stiff PE and PLLA blocks, approaching typical values of compliant PEO and PCL. Results are mainly attributed to the low crystallinity of the PE and PLLA blocks. Moreover, the Q2 copolymer exhibits inferior mechanical properties than Q1, and this can be related to the PE block within Q1 that has thinner crystal lamellae according to its much lower melting point.

Nanomaterials (Basel) ; 10(8)2020 Jul 30.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32751589


The synthesis, molecular and morphological characterization of a 3-miktoarm star terpolymer of polystyrene (PS, M¯n = 61.0 kg/mol), polybutadiene (PB, M¯n = 38.2 kg/mol) and polyisoprene (PI, M¯n = 29.2 kg/mol), corresponding to volume fractions (φ) of 0.46, 0.31 and 0.23 respectively, was studied. The major difference of the present material from previous ABC miktoarm stars (which is a star architecture bearing three different segments, all connected to a single junction point) with the same block components is the high 3,4-microstructure (55%) of the PI chains. The interaction parameter and the degree of polymerization of the two polydienes is sufficiently positive to create a three-phase microdomain structure as evidenced by differential scanning calorimetry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). These results in combination with small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and birefringence experiments suggest a cubic tricontinuous network structure, based on the I4132 space group never reported previously for such an architecture.

Materials (Basel) ; 13(6)2020 Mar 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32178427


Block copolymers (BCPs), through their self-assembly, provide an excellent guiding platform for precise controlled localization of maghemite nanoparticles (MNPs). Diblock copolymers (di/BCP) represent the most applied matrix to host filler components due to their morphological simplicity. A series of nanocomposites based on diblock copolymer or triblock terpolymer matrices and magnetic nanoparticles were prepared to study and compare the influence of an additional block into the BCP matrix. MNPs were grafted with low molecular weight polystyrene (PS) chains in order to be segregated in a specific phase of the matrix to induce selective localization. After the mixing of the BCPs with 10% w/v PS-g-MNPs, nanocomposite thin films were formed by spin coating. Solvent vapor annealing (SVA) enabled the PS-g-MNPs selective placement within the PS domains of the BCPs, as revealed by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The recorded images have proven that high amounts of functionalized MNPs can be controllably localized within the same block (PS), despite the architecture of the BCPs (AB vs. ABC). The adopted lamellar structure of the "neat" BCP thin films was maintained for MNPs loading approximately up to 10% w/v, while, for higher content, the BCP adopted lamellar morphology is partially disrupted, or even disappears for both AB and ABC architectures.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 58(45): 16267-16274, 2019 Nov 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31448860


Multicrystalline block polymers having three or more crystalline segments are essential materials for the advancement of physics in the field of crystallinity. The challenging synthesis of multicrystalline polymers has resulted in only a limited number of tricrystalline terpolymers having been reported to date. We report, for the first time, the synthesis of polyethylene-b-poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(ϵ-caprolactone)-b-poly(l-lactide) (PE-b-PEO-b-PCL-b-PLLA), a tetracrystalline tetrablock quarterpolymer, by combining polyhomologation, ring-opening polymerization, and an organic/metal "catalyst switch" strategy. 1 H NMR spectroscopy and gel-permeation chromatography confirmed the formation of the tetrablock quarterpolymer, while differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, and wide-line separation solid-state NMR spectroscopy revealed the existence of four different crystalline domains.

ACS Macro Lett ; 4(12): 1392-1397, 2015 Dec 15.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35614789


Two star triblock terpolymers (PS-b-P2VP-b-PEO)3 and one dendritic-like terpolymer [PS-b-P2VP-b-(PEO)2]3 of PS (polystyrene), P2VP (poly(2-vinylpyridine)), and PEO (poly(ethylene oxide)), never reported before, were synthesized by combining atom transfer radical and anionic polymerizations. The synthesis involves the transformation of the -Br groups of the previously reported Br-terminated 3-arm star diblock copolymers to one or two -OH groups, followed by anionic polymerization of ethylene oxide to afford the star or dendritic structure, respectively. The well-defined structure of the terpolymers was confirmed by static light scattering, size exclusion chromatography, and NMR spectroscopy. The self-assembly in solution and the morphology in bulk of the terpolymers, studied by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy, respectively, reveal new insights in the phase separation of these materials with complex macromolecular architecture.