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EPSRC Reference: GR/M22130/01
Title: A NEW CLASS OF THERMOPLASTIC BLENDS: USING LIFSHITZ TRICRITICAL POINTS TO MAKE POLYMER MICROEMULSIONS
Principal Investigator: Matsen, Professor MW
Other Investigators:
Hamley, Professor IW Young, Dr R Ryan, Professor AJ
Fairclough, Professor JPA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Reading
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 April 1999 Ends: 31 August 2002 Value (£): 56,698
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
One of the most important applications of block copolymers is as compatibilizers of otherwise immiscible homopolymers. In most polymer blends the phase size is determined by rheological factors and the phases are sterically stabilised far from equilibrium. In this situation the equilibrium morphology is two layers and processing in the melt causes a reorganisation of material. This proposal proposes a radically different strategy to make bicontinuous blends where the final morphology is at (or at least close to) equilibrium. We will systematically determine the conditions for preparation of a polymeric microemulsion and its typical lengthscale by first studying the simpler model homopolymer/diblock system, characterising the morphology experimentally and using self-consistent field theory models. Diblock copolymers of polystyrene and polybutadiene will be synthesised where suitable materials are not available commercially. Blends of these model diblocks with incompatible homopolymer will then be investigated. Finally, we will examine the formation of bicontinuous microemulsions in industrially important blends of polypropylene, polyethylene and polyolefin diblocks from hydrogenated polyisoprene-polybutadiene precursors, which match the homopolymers in terms of segment length and interactions. The processing and properties of the blends will be determined as an integral part of the project.
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Organisation Website: http://www.rdg.ac.uk