Interstitial micelles in binary blends of ABA triblock copolymers and homopolymers

Publish Year: 2018
Publisher:  Physical Review E, 2018, 97 (1), 012503
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S. Wołoszczuk, M. Banaszak
We investigate triblock-homopolymer blends of types A1BA2/A and A1BA2/B, using a lattice Monte Carlo method. While the simulated triblock chains are compositionally symmetric in terms of the A-to-B volume ratio, the A1 block is significantly shorter than the A2 block. For the pure A1BA2 melt and the A1BA2 solutions in selective solvent the phase behavior is relatively well known, including existence and stability of the interstitial micelles which were discovered in previous Monte Carlo simulations. In this paper we study the stability of the interstitial micelles as a function of triblock volume fraction in selective homopolymers of either type A or type B, using two significantly different homopolymer chain lengths. We found that adding selective homopolymer of type A shifts the stability of the interstitial micelles into significantly higher temperatures. We also obtained, via self-assembly, intriguing new nanostructures which can be identified as ordered truncated octahedra. Finally, we established that the phase behavior of the triblock-homopolymer blends depends relatively weakly on the chain length of the added homopolymer.

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