Effect of poly[oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate] side chain length on the brush swelling behavior in A/B/A–B ternary blends with polystyrene†
The phase behavior of ternary blends composed of two homopolymers (A, B) and their corresponding diblock copolymer (A–B) has been widely studied, with emphasis on the volumetrically symmetric isopleth and the formation of bicontinuous microemulsions. However, almost all the previous studies employed linear polymers, and little is known about the impact of polymer architecture on the phase behavior of such ternary blends. Here, we report the self-assembly of three sets of ternary blends of polystyrene (PS) and poly[oligo(ethylene glycol) methyl ether methacrylate] (POEGMAn), with different lengths of oligo(ethylene glycol) side chains n. Small-angle X-ray scattering was used to probe the phase behavior at different compositions and temperatures. The order-to-disorder transition temperature was found to be impacted by the side chain length. It was also observed that longer side chains lead to poorer miscibility of homopolymers in the corresponding block, resulting in a more “dry-brush” like swelling behavior.