Visualization of block copolymer distribution on a sheared drop

Hyun K. Jeon, Chris Macosko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We have visualized a fluorescently-labeled poly(styrene-b-methylmethacrylate) (NBD-PS-b-PMMA) block copolymer on the surface of a polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) drop in a polystyrene (PS) matrix. Confocal microscopy revealed that the block copolymer distributed uniformly on the drop surface before deformation. However, in shear flow the copolymer concentration was higher at the tips and edges of the drop. Visualization of drop deformation using a counter-rotating apparatus showed enhanced drop deformation for a drop with block copolymer resulting in larger area generation. Drops with block copolymer showed widening even for shear strains exceeding 10, in contrast to bare drops, which first widened and then shrank. These results agree qualitatively with the observed distribution of fluorescent block copolymer. Copolymer concentration is highest in the regions of high curvature, where lowering interfacial tension should be most effective in retarding drop retraction. Block copolymer on these highly curved surfaces is found to be very effective since the exact theory for zero interfacial tension by Cristini fits our drop widening results well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5381-5386
Number of pages6
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 7 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Vittorio Cristini, Sachin Velankar, and Hua Zhou for helpful discussions and comments, and Bongjin Moon for the NBD-PS- b -PMMA synthesis. Laura Weatherbee assisted with the experimentation. This work was supported primarily by the MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under Award Number DMR-0212302.


  • Block copolymer
  • Drop deformation
  • Interfacial tension


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