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Keywords:

  • blends;
  • compatibility;
  • morphology;
  • POSS;
  • nanostructure

Abstract

In this work, the compatibility of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and polystyrene (PS) polymers with their polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) copolymers combined by solution blending is investigated, to determine the effect of incorporation of the POSS unit on polymer compatibility. The morphology of these tethered POSS copolymer/polymer blends was studied by electron microscopy, thermal analysis, and density. Although the basic PS/PMMA blend was clearly immiscible, it was also found that the incorporation of POSS into the PS chain led to incompatibility when the POSScoPS copolymer was blended with PS homopolymer. However, conversely, in the case where the POSS moiety was included as part of a copolymer with PMMA, the copolymer was miscible with the PMMA homopolymer. The presence of isobutyl units on the corners of POSS cage is clearly sufficient to encourage miscibility with PMMA. Interestingly, blends of the two different POSS copolymers led to an immiscible structure, despite having the common POSS units, the interactions between the POSS moieties clearly not being sufficient to drive compatibility. The POSS copolymers have also been used as interfacial agents in immiscible PS and PMMA blend, and it has been found that the appearance of the interface bonding is improved, although the phase morphology is only slightly changed. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2010