Mean-field theory of the interface between a homopolymer and a binary-polymer mixture

Genzer, Jan; Faldi, Alessandro; Composto, Russell J.
December 1996
Journal of Chemical Physics;12/8/1996, Vol. 105 Issue 22, p10134
Academic Journal
In this paper we investigate the properties of the interface between a homopolymer (A) and a binary polymer mixture (B:C). We have extended the self-consistent field (SCF) model of Helfand [Macromolecules 25, 1676 (1992)] by including the effects of the numbers of segments of polymers on the polymer volume fractions, the interfacial excess of B, zB*, the interfacial tension, γABC, the interfacial width, wABC, and the A–B interfacial overlap, wAB. Other parameters include the polymer interaction parameters, χAB, χAC, and χBC, and the B volume fraction in the B:C mixture, [lowercase_phi_synonym]B∞. As expected, the B component segregates to the A/B:C interface when A–B interactions are more favorable than the A–C ones (χAB<χAC). This interfacial adsorption lowers the interfacial tension and width compared to the pure A/C case, demonstrating the compatibilizing effect of B. As χBC varies from favorable to unfavorable, B segregation is found to increase. Similarly, at constant interaction parameters, B segregation increases as the number of the B segments increases. Furthermore, the addition of a small amount of high molecular weight B to an immiscible A/C blend is found to reduce greatly γABC and thus stabilize the system. Calculations for the case of an athermal mixture B:C with χAB=χAC reveals that the shorter chains are ‘‘entropically driven’’ to the A/B:C interface. © 1996 American Institute of Physics.


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