Analysis of glass transition and relaxation processes of low molecular weight polystyrene-Beta-polyisoprene diblock copolymers


The objective of this study is to analyze the glass transition temperature and relaxation processes of low molecular weight polystyrene-block-polyisoprene diblock copolymers with different compositions, synthesized via anionic polymerization. Thermal properties were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic-mechanical thermal analysis, while the morphologies at room temperature were investigated by transmission electron microscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering. The χN values indicate that the diblock copolymers lie near the weak segregation regime. Three different experimental techniques were applied to determine the dynamic properties, i.e., linear viscoelastic shear oscillations, creep recovery experiments, and dielectric spectroscopy. The rheological experiments were performed above the order–disorder transition temperature where the diblock copolymers behave like a Maxwell fluid. Our results indicate that the presence of the polyisoprene segments strongly influences the monomeric friction coefficient and the tendency to form entanglements above the order–disorder temperature. Consequently, the zero-shear rate viscosity of a diblock copolymer is much lower than the zero-shear rate viscosity of the neat polystyrene block (the polystyrene precursor of the polymerization procedure). Dielectric spectroscopy enables the analysis of relaxation processes below the glass transition of the polystyrene microphase. Frequency sweeps indicate the dynamic glass transition of the polyisoprene blocks, which are partly mixed with the polystyrene blocks, which are always the majority component in the block copolymers of this study.
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