We have established the existence of a line of congruent first-order lamellar-to-disorder (LAM-DIS) transitions when appropriate amounts of poly(cyclohexylethylene) (C) and poly(ethylene) (E) homopolymers are mixed with a corresponding compositionally symmetric CE diblock copolymer. The line of congruent transitions, or the congruent isopleth, terminates at the bicontinuous microemulsion (BμE) channel, and its trajectory appears to be influenced by the critical composition of the C/E binary homopolymer blend. Blends satisfying congruency undergo a direct LAM-DIS transition without passing through a two-phase region. We present complementary optical transmission, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and dynamic mechanical spectroscopy (DMS) results that establish the phase behavior at constant copolymer volume fraction and varying C/E homopolymer volume ratios. Adjacent to the congruent composition at constant copolymer volume fraction, the lamellar and disordered phases are separated by two-phase coexistence windows, which converge, along with the line of congruent transitions, at an overall composition in the phase prism coincident with the BμE channel. Hexagonal and cubic (double gyroid) phases occur at higher diblock copolymer concentrations for asymmetric amounts of C and E homopolymers. These results establish a quantitative method for identifying the detailed phase behavior of ternary diblock copolymer-homopolymer blends, especially in the vicinity of the BμE.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry