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Probing the interface structure of block copolymer compatibilizers in semicrystalline polymer blends

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Journal of Applied Polymer Science
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The use of block copolymers to compatibilize immiscible plastics is an important strategy for upcycling municipal plastic wastes. Multiblock copolymers (MBCPs) have been proven to be more effective compatibilizers than di- and tri-block copolymers. Herein, we probe the interface structure of an effective multiblock copolymer compatibilizer and compare that with an ineffective triblock copolymer (TBCP). The interface activity of the compatibilizers is understood through a combination of small-angle neutron and x-ray scatterings (SANS and SAXS), by using deuterated homopolymer matrix and protonated compatibilizers. SANS analysis suggests that the MBCP forms a thicker interface layer (7–9 nm) than the TBCP (0–4 nm). In addition, SANS data seems to point to a stronger tendency for the MBCP to locate at the interface. Both factors contribute to its effectiveness at compatibilizing immiscible homopolymers.