Poly(vinylidene fluoride)–acrylic rubber partially miscible blends: Phase behavior and its effects on the mechanical properties



A phase diagram of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and acrylic rubber (ACM) was plotted, and the effects of the extent of miscibility on the mechanical properties of the polymer blends were examined. A compressible, regular solution model was used to forecast the phase diagram of this blend. The model prediction, the lower critical solution temperature (LCST) over the upper critical solution temperature (UCST), was done qualitatively according to the experimentally determined phase diagram by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), optical microscopy, and rheological analysis. These experimental methods showed that this system was miscible in ACM-rich blends (>50% ACM) and partially miscible in PVDF-rich blends. A wide-angle X-ray diffraction study revealed that PVDF/ACM blends such as neat PVDF had a characteristic α-crystalline peak. The partially miscible blends displayed up to 350% elongation at break; this was a significant increment of this parameter compared to that of neat PVDF(20%). However, the miscible blends showed elongation of up to 1000% [again, a remarkable increase compared to chemically crosslinked ACM (220%)] and displayed excellent mechanical properties and tensile strength and a large elongation at break. For the miscible and partially miscible blends, two different mechanisms were responsible for this improvement in the mechanical properties. It was suggested that in the partially miscible blends, the rubbery depletion layer between the spherulite and the conventional rubber cavitations mechanism were responsible for the increase in the elongation at break, whereas for the miscible blends, the PVDF spherulite acted as a crosslinking junction. The stretched part of the tensile samples in the partially miscible blends showed characteristic β-crystalline peaks in the Fourier transform infrared spectra, whereas that in the miscible blends showed α-crystalline peaks. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 1247-1258, 2013