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Aggregation, adsorption, and surface properties of multiply end-functionalized polystyrenes.

Ansari, I. A. and Clarke, N. and Hutchings, L. R. and Narrainen, A. P. and Terry, A. E. and Thompson, R. L. and Webster, J. R. P. (2007) 'Aggregation, adsorption, and surface properties of multiply end-functionalized polystyrenes.', Langmuir., 23 (8). pp. 4405-4413.


The properties of polystyrene blends containing deuteriopolystyrene, multiply end-functionalized with C8F17 fluorocarbon groups, are strikingly analogous to those of surfactants in solution. These materials, denoted FxdPSy, where x is the number of fluorocarbon groups and y is the molecular weight of the dPS chain in kg/mol, were blended with unfunctionalized polystyrene, hPS. Nuclear reaction analysis experiments show that FxdPSy polymers adsorb spontaneously to solution and blend surfaces, resulting in a reduction in surface energy inferred from contact angle analysis. Aggregation of functionalized polymers in the bulk was found to be sensitive to FxdPSy structure and closely related to surface properties. At low concentrations, the functionalized polymers are freely dispersed in the hPS matrix, and in this range, the surface excess concentration grows sharply with increasing bulk concentration. At higher concentrations, surface excess concentrations and contact angles reach a plateau, small-angle neutron scattering data indicate small micellar aggregates of six to seven F2dPS10 polymer chains and much larger aggregates of F4dPS10. Whereas F2dPS10 aggregates are miscible with the hPS matrix, F4dPS10 forms a separate phase of multilamellar vesicles. Using neutron reflectometry (NR), we found that the extent of the adsorbed layer was approximately half the lamellar spacing of the multilamellar vesicles. NR data were fitted using an error function profile to describe the concentration profile of the adsorbed layer, and reasonable agreement was found with concentration profiles predicted by the SCFT model. The thermodynamic sticking energy of the fluorocarbon-functionalized polymer chains to the blend surface increases from 5.3kBT for x = 2 to 6.6kBT for x = 4 but appears to be somewhat dependent upon the blend concentration.

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Date of first online publication:April 2007
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