2022 Impact factor 1.8
Soft Matter and Biological Physics
Eur. Phys. J. E 10, 337-343 (2003)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2002-10120-3

The influence of chain stretching on the phase behavior of multiblock copolymer and comb copolymer melts

H.J. Angerman and G. ten Brinke

Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry, Materials Science Centre, Dutch Polymer Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands


(Received 14 February 2002 and Received in final form 7 March 2003 / Published online: 29 April 2003)

The subject of this paper is inspired by microphase-separated copolymer melts in which a small-scale structure is present inside one of the phases of a large-scale structure. Such a situation can arise in a diblock copolymer melt, if one of the blocks of the diblock is in itself a multiblock copolymer or a comb copolymer. Due to the presence of the large-scale structure, the chains are stretched. The aim of this paper is to investigate the influence of this chain stretching on the formation of the small-scale structure. To gain insight we study infinite melts of infinitely long copolymer chains that are subjected to a stretching force. For melts of monodisperse multiblock copolymers we find that the stretching destabilizes the homogeneous phase. If the stretching is strong, the lamellar structure is the only stable structure. The periodicity increases with the degree of stretching. For melts of monodisperse comb copolymers the chain stretching has no influence on the stability of the homogeneous phase. If the stretching is strong, the lamellar structure and the hexagonal structure are the only stable structures. The periodicity is independent of the degree of stretching. For the multiblock copolymer we investigated the influence of block length polydispersity. For small polydispersity the period of the structure increases monotonically with the degree of stretching. For intermediate polydispersity, the period initially decreases before it starts to increase. For large polydispersity, the mean-field period at the spinodal is infinite, becoming finite once the stretching force exceeds some critical value. For very large polydispersity the mean-field period at the spinodal remains infinite for any value of the stretching force.

82.35.Jk - Copolymers, phase transitions, structure.
89.75.Fb - Structures and organization in complex systems.
61.25.Hq - Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2003