Poly(methyl methacrylate-b-ethylene oxide-b-methyl methacrylate) (PMMA-PEO-PMMA) triblock copolymers were synthesized using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and halogen exchange ATRP. PEO-based macroinitiators with molecular weight from Mn = 2000 to 35,800 g/mol were used to initiate the polymerization of MMA to obtain copolymers with molecular weight up to Mn = 82,000 g/mol and polydispersity index (PDI) less than 1.2. The macroinitiators and copolymers were characterized by gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The melting temperature and glass transition temperature of the copolymers were measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Crystallinities of the PEO blocks were determined from the WAXS patterns of both homopolymers and block copolymers, which revealed the fragmentation of PEO blocks due to the folding of the PMMA chains. Interestingly, the fragmentation was less pronounced when cast on surfaces compared to that in bulk, as measured by GISAXS. Solvent casting was used to control the morphology of the copolymers, permitting the formation of various states including amorphous, induced micellar with a PMMA core and flower-like PEO arms, and a cross-linked gel. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to visualize the different copolymer morphologies, showing micellar and amorphous states.
- Atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP)
- Atomic force microscopy (AFM)
- Block copolymers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics