Recent developments regarding charged multiblock copolymers that can form physical networks and exhibit robust mechanical properties herald new and exciting opportunities for contemporary technologies requiring amphiphilic attributes. Due to the presence of strong interactions, however, control over the phase behavior of such materials remains challenging, especially since their morphologies can be solvent-templated. In this study, transmission electron microscopy and microtomography are employed to examine the morphological characteristics of midblock-sulfonated pentablock ionomers prepared from solvents differing in polarity. Resultant images confirm that discrete, spherical ion-rich microdomains form in films cast from a relatively nonpolar solvent, whereas an apparently mixed morphology with a continuous ion-rich pathway is generated when the casting solvent is more highly polar. Detailed 3D analysis of the morphological characteristics confirms the coexistence of hexagonally-packed nonpolar cylinders and lamellae, which facilitates the diffusion of ions and/or other polar species through the nanostructured medium.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry