Microstructure of triblock copolymers in asphalt oligomers

Rong Ming Ho, Adeyinka Adedeji, David W Giles, Damian A. Hajduk, Christopher W. Macosko, Frank S Bates

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58 Scopus citations


A model asphalt has been separated into two parts, asphaltene and maltene, through solvent extraction by n-heptane. The interactions of asphaltene and maltene with the triblock copolymer poly(styrene-b-(ethylene-co-butylene)-b-styrene) (SEBS) were investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). Asphaltene was found to be essentially immiscible with both blocks of SEBS, while maltene was miscible with SEBS. An unusual sequence of morphological transformations of SEBS microstructure with respect to the addition of maltene was observed. The morphology transformed from hexagonal cylinder, to perforated layers, to lamellae and then back to the original hexagonal cylinder. The observed transformation reflects a limited solubility for both S and EB domains: at lower concentration maltene is a preferential additive for S domains, while increasing concentration the swelling of EB-rich microdomains by maltene becomes significant. The basic understanding of the interactions of the components of asphalt with SEBS gives a simple path to characterize and predict the microstructure of triblock copolymers in asphalt oligomers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2857-2877
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 1997


  • Asphalt
  • Block copolymer
  • Microstructure
  • Oligomer
  • SAXS
  • SEBS
  • TEM

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