Studies of phase separation in lower critical solution temperature (LCST) polymer blends exposed to high-pressure CO2 provide an insight to their physical properties. Through using in situ high-pressure ATR-FTIR spectroscopic imaging, this work visualized the dynamic process of phase separation in Polycaprolactone (PCL)/Poly (lactic acid) (PLA) blend under high-pressure CO2 for the first time. ATR-FTIR spectroscopic images revealed that phase separation in PCL/PLA blends occurs with increasing temperature or upon exposure to high-pressure CO2. The change in the morphology of PCL-rich and PLA-rich domains in the ATR-FTIR spectroscopic images can be used to compare the extent of phase separation under different conditions. It is found that the extent of phase separation in PCL/PLA blends under high-pressure CO2 is enhanced with increasing temperature, CO2 pressure and exposure time. The effect of different molecular weights of one blend component, PCL, on the phase separation in PCL/PLA blends was also studied. This pioneering methodology opens possibilities to visualize the process of phase separation in LCST polymer blend systems and it can also be applied to study the process of interdiffusion in upper critical solution temperature (UCST) polymer blends.
|Spectrochimica Acta - Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
|Published - Dec 15 2020
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics