Enhancing composition window of bicontinuous structures by designed polydispersity distribution of ABA triblock copolymers Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The phase behavior of polydisperse ABA triblock copolymers is studied using dissipative particle dynamics simulations, focusing on the emergence and property of bicontinuous structures. Bicontinuous structures are characterized by two separate, intermeshed nanoscopic domains extending throughout the material. The connectivity of polymeric bicontinuous structures makes them highly desirable for many applications. For conventional monodisperse diblock and triblock copolymers, regular bicontinuous structures (i.e., gyroid and Fddd) can be formed over a narrow composition window of ~3%. We demonstrate that the composition window for the formation of bicontinuous structures can be regulated by designed polydispersity distributions of ABA triblock copolymers. In particular, introducing polydispersity in both A and B blocks can lead to a significant enhancement of the composition window of bicontinuous structures with both continuous A and B domains. The mechanism of the bicontinuous structure enhancement is elucidated from the distribution of the long and short blocks. Furthermore, it is shown that the polymeric bicontinuous structures from polydisperse ABA triblock copolymers possess good continuity throughout the sample, making them ideal candidates for advanced applications.

publication date

  • October 2013