Compatibilization of Immiscible Polymer Networks Through Photopolymerization in a Lyotropic Liquid Crystal


  • Financial assistance from the National Science Foundation through a PECASE grant (CTS-0328231) and the University of Iowa though a Biosciences Initiative Pilot Grant is acknowledged.


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The self-assembled, nanoscale domains of a lyotropic liquid crystal are used as a compatibilizing platform for the simultaneous polymerization of immiscible hydrophilic and hydrophobic crosslinking monomers (see figure). The influence of the liquid crystal reduces phase separation, resulting in a material with properties similar to those of a highly compatible polymer blend. The direct dependence of material properties on the composition of the crosslinking blend indicates the formation of a type of interpenetrating network.