Documents & Media
- Wang, J.; Mueller, Marcus; Wang, Z.
- We study the interplay between microphase assembly and macrophase separation in A/B/AB ternary polymer blends by examining the free energy of localized fluctuation structures (micelles or droplets), with emphasis on the thermodynamic relationship between swollen micelles (microemulsion) and the macrophase-separated state, using self-consistent field theory and an extended capillary model. Upon introducing homopolymer B into a micelle-forming binary polymer blend A/AB, micelles can be swollen by B. A small amount of component B (below the A-rich binodal of macrophase coexistence) will not affect the stability of the swollen micelles. A large excess of homopolymer, B, will induce a microemulsion failure and lead to a macrophase separation. Between the binodal and the microemulsion failure concentration, macrophase separation in A/B/AB occurs by a two-step nucleation mechanism via a metastable microemulsion droplet of finite size. Our results illustrate a recently proposed argument that the two-step nucleation via a metastable intermediate is a general phenomenon in systems involving short-range attraction and long-range repulsion.
- Issue Date
- Amer Inst Physics
- The Journal of Chemical Physics