Droplet-in-Droplet Polymer Blend Microstructures: a Potential Route Toward the Recycling of Co-mingled Plastics

Authors

  • Pierre Le Corroller,

    1. CREPEC, Department of Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T1J4
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  • Basil D. Favis

    Corresponding author
    1. CREPEC, Department of Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T1J4
    • CREPEC, Department of Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada H3T1J4.
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Abstract

The problem of recycling co-mingled plastics is primarily related to the problem of multiple interfaces in multicomponent immiscible polymer blends. Here, we study a new concept where thermodynamically driven polymer segregation and phase encapsulation are used to locate multiple phases within one of two major phases. Starting from a co-continuous blend of HDPE and PP, hierarchically encapsulated PS/PMMA/PC composite droplets are found to be exclusively located within PP when the principal HDPE/PP interface is compatibilized. The mechanical properties of the structures demonstrate an improved tensile strength and modulus as well as ductility under the appropriate processing conditions. This approach has potential as a novel route toward the recycling of co-mingled plastics.

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