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Polymers 2017, 9(9), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym9090393

Interfacially-Located Nanoparticles Anticipate the Onset of Co-Continuity in Immiscible Polymer Blends

1
Institute of Polymers, Composite and Biomaterials, National Research Council, P.le Fermi, 80055 Portici, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, dei Materiali e della Produzione Industriale (INSTM Consortium—UdR Naples), University of Naples Federico II, P.le Tecchio 80, 80125 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 22 August 2017 / Accepted: 23 August 2017 / Published: 25 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Abstract

The addition of nanoparticles has recently emerged as a clever tool to manipulate the microstructure and, through it, the macroscopic properties of immiscible polymer blends. Despite the huge number of studies in this field, the underlying mechanisms of most of the nanoparticle-induced effects on the blend microstructure remain poorly understood. Among others, the origin of effect of nanoparticles on the transition from distributed (drop-in-matrix) to co-continuous morphology is still controversial. Here we address this issue through a systematic study on a model blend of polystyrene (PS) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) filled with small amounts of nanoparticles (organo-modified clay) selectively located at the polymer–polymer interface. Extraction experiments with selective solvents prove that the nanoparticles significantly anticipate the onset of co-continuity with respect to the unfilled blend. Morphological analyses reveal that such an effect is a consequence of the interconnection of nanoparticle-coated polymer domains. Such “ginger-like” clusters get into contact at low content due to their irregular shape, thus anticipating the onset of co-continuity. View Full-Text
Keywords: immiscible polymer blends; nanoparticles; morphology; co-continuity immiscible polymer blends; nanoparticles; morphology; co-continuity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Luna, M.S.; Causa, A.; Filippone, G. Interfacially-Located Nanoparticles Anticipate the Onset of Co-Continuity in Immiscible Polymer Blends. Polymers 2017, 9, 393.

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