Microphase separation induced by competitive hydrogen bonding interactions in double crystalline diblock copolymer/homopolymer blends was studied for the first time. Poly(ethylene oxide)- block-poly(e-caprolactone) (PEO-b-PCL)/poly(4-vinylphenol) (PVPh) blends were prepared in tetrahydrofuran. The diblock copolymer PEO-b-PCL consists of two immiscible crystallizable blocks wherein bothPEO and PCL blocks can form hydrogen bonds with PVPh. In these A-b-B/C diblock copolymer homopolymer blends, microphase separation takes place due to the disparity in intermolecular interactions; specifically, PVPh and PEO block interact strongly whereas PVPh and PCL block interact weakly. The TEM and SAXS results show that the cubic PEO-b-PCL diblock copolymer changes into ordered hexagonal cylindrical morphology upon addition of 20 wt % PVPh followed by disordered bicontinuous phase in the blend with 40 wt % PVPh and then to homogeneous phase at 60 wt % PVPh and above blends. Up to 40 wt % PVPh there is only weak interaction between PVPh and PCL due to the selective hydrogen bonding between PVPh and PEO. However, with higher PVPh concentration, the blends become homogeneous since a sufficient amount of PVPh is available to form hydrogen bonds with both PEO and PCL. A structural model was proposed to explain the self-assembly and microphase morphology of these blends based on the experimental results obtained. The formation of nanostructures and changes in morphologies depend on the relative strength of hydrogen bonding interaction between each block of the block copolymer and the homopolymer.
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