New methods for stabilizing the interface of partially miscible and immiscible binary polymer blends and characterizing such an interface are described here. Interfacial modifications in four binary polymer blend systems namely PS/PMMA, PVC/EVA, PP/NBR, and PVC/SAN were induced by e-beam and microwave irradiation. These changes have been characterized in terms of free volume measured by Positron lifetime technique and DSC as supplementary to free volume data. The changes observed in free volume parameters upon irradiation could not be connected to the changes at the interface and also not specific to composition of the blend. Owing to this limitation, we exploited the usefulness of hydrodynamic interaction parameter α derived from the very same free volume data to monitor the changes at the interface. The present results demonstrated that α is effective in revealing the changes at the interface and can be used to characterize the interfacial properties in partially miscible and immiscible polymer blends. Further, the results clearly show that microwave irradiation is a better route to stabilize the interface of a partially miscible or immiscible blend if its component polymers contain polar groups. E-beam irradiation seems to be better route if the component polymers of the blend contain no polar groups. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys 47: 619–632, 2009
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