Compatibilisation of PPE/SAN blends by triblock terpolymers - Correlation between block terpolymer composition, morphology and properties


Immiscible blends of poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene ether) (PPE) and poly(styrene-coacrylonitrile)(SAN) with a weight composition of 60/40 were compatibilised by polystyreneblock- polybutadiene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) triblock terpolymers (SBM) using a two-stage melt-processing approach. In order to investigate the influence of the SBM composition on the compatibilisation efficiency, the block lengths of the triblock terpolymers were systematically varied. The resulting morphological features of the blend systems as function of SBM composition and processing parameters are correlated with the resulting thermal and thermo-mechanical properties. In the ideal case, SBM should be located at the interface as PS is miscible with PPE while PMMA is miscible with SAN. The elastomeric middle block as an immiscible component should remain at the interface. This particular morphological arrangement is known as the “raspberry morphology”. A detailed TEM analysis of the blend morphologies following initial extrusion-compounding revealed a high compatibilisation efficiency of the SBM types with equal lengths of the end blocks and, furthermore, the desired raspberry morphology was achieved. In contrast, high PS contents in comparison to the other blocks led to a pronounced micelle formation in the PPE phase. Further evaluation of the blend structures following injection-moulding indicated that the morphologies remain relatively stable during this second melt-processing step. A detailed thermal analysis of all blend systems supports the interpretation of the observed morphological features. The fundamental correlation between SBM composition and blend morphology established in this study opens the door for the controlled development of interfacial properties of such compatibilised PPE/SAN blends during melt-processing.
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