Structure and viscoelasticity of matched asymmetric diblock and triblock copolymers in the cylinder and sphere microstructures

C. Y. Ryu, M. S. Lee, D. A. Hajduk, T. P. Lodge

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A polystyrene-polyisoprene (PS-PI) diblock copolymer (10,000-50,000 g/ mol) and a matched PS-PI-PS triblock (10,000-100,000-10,000 g/mol) were employed to study the effect of chain architecture on the rheological response of ordered block copolymer melts. Both samples adopt hexagonal microstructures with PS cylinders embedded in a PI matrix; on further heating, an order-order transition (OOT) into a cubic array of spheres takes place prior to the order-disorder transition. Each morphology was verified by SAXS and TEM. Interestingly, at the OOT the low-frequency elastic modulus of the diblock increased abruptly, whereas that of the triblock decreased. In contrast, the modulus of the cubic phase was roughly independent of chain architecture. Chain relaxation parallel and perpendicular to the cylinders was probed by measuring the elastic modulus of a macroscopically aligned sample in directions parallel (Gr′) and perpendicular (G′) to the cylinder orientation. For both materials G′∥ < G′R < G′R, where G′R is the elastic modulus of a randomly oriented sample. This result is attributed to the ability of the unentangled PS blocks to move along the direction of the cylinder axis, and thus relax the stress in the PI matrix in the parallel alignment. In each of the three cylindrical orientations the triblock had a larger modulus than the diblock, which is attributed to the presence of bridging PI blocks that connect distinct PS domains. About 20° below the OOT G′∥ showed a distinct change in its temperature dependence, which, coupled with SAXS measurements, is indicative of the onset of an undulation in the cylinder diameter that presages the pinching off of cylinders into spheres, as recently predicted by theory. The use of oriented samples also permitted SAXS confirmation of an approximate epitaxial relationship between the cylinder and the sphere unit cells, although a distinct change in the location of the structure factor maximum, q*, is noted at the OOT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2811-2823
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Dec 1997


  • Anisotropic modulus
  • Diblock copolymer
  • Order-order transition
  • Triblock copolymer

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