X-ray scattering study on the crystalline and semi-crystalline structure of water/PEG mixtures in their eutectic phase diagram†
Mixtures of water and PEG exhibit a well known eutectic phase diagram. While the thermodynamic properties like eutectic and liquidus temperatures as well as the eutectic concentration are intensely investigated almost nothing is known about the structural properties of water and PEG in the different regions of the phase diagram. Therefore, we report on a combined DSC, SAXS and WAXS study over the full range of polymer water compositions in order to elucidate the crystalline and semi-crystalline structure. Throughout the whole phase diagram no signatures of a mixed-crystalline phase of PEG and water can be found. Below the eutectic temperature, both components demix microscopically into hexagonal ice and crystalline PEG with its well known crystalline structure. In the region between eutectic and liquidus temperature, the solid component is composed of a single phase of either pure semi-crystalline PEG (PEG rich side of the phase diagram) or pure ice (water rich side). The semi-crystalline structure of PEG, in contrast, is changed by the presence of water. Its long spacing dac increases due to the incorporation of water molecules in the amorphous regions, while the formation of crystalline regions seems to be enhanced, resulting in an almost unaffected crystallinity.