By employing small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), we investigated the microstructures of, poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPA)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) (NE) in deuterated water D 2O, as related to macroscopic behaviors of fluidity, turbidity and synerisis. SANS revealed following results: (i) microphase separation occurs at around above 17°C in a temperature range of transparent sol below 30°C. In the microdomain appeared in the transparent sol state, both block chains of PNIPA and PEG are swollen by water; (ii) for the NE solution of polymer concentration W p > 3.5% (w/v), corresponding to opaque gel above 30°C, a percolated structure, i.e., network-like domain is formed by NE as a result of macrophase separation due to dehydration of the PNIPA chains. As the temperature increases toward 40°C, the network domain is squeezed along a direction parallel to the NE interface, which leads to increase of the interfacial thickness given by swollen PEG chains and to the macroscopic synerisis behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Surfaces and Interfaces
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry