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J. Mater. Chem., 2003, 13 (11), 2779 - 2784
DOI: 10.1039/b304254e


Mixed micelles of block copolymers of ethylene oxide and 1,2-butylene oxide. Solutions and gels of triblock BEB plus diblock EB copolymers studied by light scattering and rheology

Antonis Kelarakis , Vasiliki Havredaki , Xue-Feng Yuan , Yung-Wei Yang and Colin Booth

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Because of the hydrophobic end blocks, micelles of triblock BEB copolymers (E denotes an oxyethylene unit, B an oxybutylene unit) formed in aqueous solution show effects attributable to intermicellar bridging. The formation of mixed micelles with a diblock EB copolymer reduces but does not eliminate the effect. Light scattering methods applied to dilute solutions have been used to show that this is the case for mixed micelles of B12E114B12 and E43B11 (the subscripts denote block lengths). This work focuses on 20 wt% aqueous solutions and on the effect of mixing on properties relating to the gel state, i.e. dynamic storage modulus (G) and yield strength (y). There are two contributory factors determining the gel properties: micelle bridging and micelle packing, with just the latter operative for a diblock gel. Increasing the proportion of diblock copolymer in the mixture reduces the contribution from micelle bridging. Considering 20 wt% solutions at 5 C, the diblock copolymer solution does not gel at this temperature and values of G and y fall away monotonically to zero. For 20 wt% solutions at 25 C, the diblock copolymer solution does gel at this temperature and values of G and y pass through minima as the system is changed from 100% triblock to 100% diblock copolymer.