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J Chem Phys. 2007 Oct 21;127(15):154909.

Integral equation theory study on the phase separation in star polymer nanocomposite melts.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, The Key Laboratory of Bioprocess of Beijing, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Beijing 100029, China.


The polymer reference interaction site model theory is used to investigate phase separation in star polymer nanocomposite melts. Two kinds of spinodal curves were obtained: classic fluid phase boundary for relatively low nanoparticle-monomer attraction strength and network phase boundary for relatively high nanoparticle-monomer attraction strength. The network phase boundaries are much more sensitive with nanoparticle-monomer attraction strength than the fluid phase boundaries. The interference among the arm number, arm length, and nanoparticle-monomer attraction strength was systematically investigated. When the arm lengths are short, the network phase boundary shows a marked shift toward less miscibility with increasing arm number. When the arm lengths are long enough, the network phase boundaries show opposite trends. There exists a crossover arm number value for star polymer nanocomposite melts, below which the network phase separation is consistent with that of chain polymer nanocomposite melts. However, the network phase separation shows qualitatively different behaviors when the arm number is larger than this value.

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