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Structural study of the influence of partially crystalline poly(ethylene butene) random copolymers on paraffin crystallization in dilute solutions



Random crystalline–amorphous copolymers containing ethylene and butene segments, yielded from dilute-solution, and self-assembled to one-dimensional, needle-shaped aggregates, can modify wax crystal structures through the cocrystallization of the copolymer and wax molecules into hairy platelets. These copolymers show selectivity in their wax crystal modification capacities that depends on the ethylene content of the backbone. Thus, it has been qualitatively established that a copolymer containing larger crystallizable polyethylene sections [poly(ethylene butene) with 7.5 ethyl branches per 100 backbone carbons (PEB-7.5)] is very efficient for longer wax molecules (C36), whereas for shorter waxes (C24), its efficacy diminishes. Here we present a quantitative evaluation of the small-angle neutron scattering results obtained in a complex study of the self-assembling behavior of PEB-7.5 and paraffin waxes (C24 and C36) in decane and of cocrystallization for different polymer–paraffin combinations and solution conditions. The richness of the morphologies was evaluated with a contrast variation technique and the application of structural models. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 42: 3113–3132, 2004