Nano/micro-scale morphologies of semi-interpenetrating poly(ε−caprolactone)/tung oil polymer networks: Isothermal and non−isothermal crystallization kinetics

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Abstract

The isothermal and non-isothermal crystallization kinetics of pure poly(ε−caprolactone) (PCL) and its blends with crosslinked tung oil were investigated as a function of composition, crystallization temperature, and heating rate using differential scanning calorimetric (DSC). The PCL/tung oil semi-interpenetrating polymer networks of different compositions were prepared via cationic polymerization of tung oil in the presence of homogenous solutions of PCL. This unique and relatively new in-situ polymerization and compatibilization blending technique created nano/micro-scale morphologies that cannot be obtained with the traditional melt-processing and/or solvent casting methods. Blends with different miscibility, phase behaviors, and morphologies (miscible, partially miscible, and immiscible) were observed as a function of composition with a constant concentration of boron trifluoride diethyl etherate (BFE) cationic initiator. The morphology of the semi-interpenetrating polymer networks was performed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Miscible blends with a single Tg for PCL ≤ 10 wt.%. were observed. While, on the other hand, partially miscible blends with two distinct Tgs and nanoscale morphologies and average particle sizes as small as 100 nm were observed for blends with 20 ≤ PCL wt.% ≤ 30. Immiscible blends with microscale highly interconnected, co-continuous two-phase morphology and two distinct Tgs were detected for 50 wt.% PCL. Both isothermal and non-isothermal crystallization kinetics were strongly influenced by the different miscibility and morphology of the blends. The isothermal and non-isothermal crystallization kinetics of PCL/tung oil blends were analyzed on the basis of Avrami and modified Avrami approaches, respectively. A substantial decrease in the isothermal (longer half time) and non-isothermal (Tm shifted to lower temperature) crystallization kinetics was observed as the concentration of PCL increased in the blends up to 30 wt.% due to the partially miscibility of the blends in this composition range. In a contrast, for 50 wt.% PCL blend, a considerable increase in the crystallization kinetics (isothermal and non-isothermal) was detected due to the highly interconnected, co-continuous two-phase morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106586
JournalPolymer Testing
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics

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