Wormlike micelle formation and flow alignment of a pluronic block copolymer in aqueous solution
Castelletto, V., Parras, P., Hamley, I.W., Baverback, P., Pedersen, J.S. and Panine, P. (2007) Wormlike micelle formation and flow alignment of a pluronic block copolymer in aqueous solution. Langmuir, 23 (13). pp. 6896-6902. ISSN 0743-7463
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1021/la700382y
The self-assembly into wormlike micelles of a poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(propylene oxide)-b-poly(ethylene oxide) triblock copolymer Pluronic P84 in aqueous salt solution (2 M NaCl) has been studied by rheology, small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering (SAXS/SANS), and light scattering. Measurements of the flow curves by controlled stress rheometry indicated phase separation under flow. SAXS on solutions subjected to capillary flow showed alignment of micelles at intermediate shear rates, although loss of alignment was observed for high shear rates. For dilute solutions, SAXS and static light scattering data on unaligned samples could be superposed over three decades in scattering vector, providing unique information on the wormlike micelle structure over several length scales. SANS data provided information on even shorter length scales, in particular, concerning "blob" scattering from the micelle corona. The data could be modeled based on a system of semiflexible self-avoiding cylinders with a circular cross-section, as described by the wormlike chain model with excluded volume interactions. The micelle structure was compared at two temperatures close to the cloud point (47 degrees C). The micellar radius was found not to vary with temperature in this region, although the contour length increased with increasing temperature, whereas the Kuhn length decreased. These variations result in an increase of the low-concentration radius of gyration with increasing temperature. This was consistent with dynamic light scattering results, and, applying theoretical results from the literature, this is in agreement with an increase in endcap energy due to changes in hydration of the poly(ethylene oxide) blocks as the temperature is increased.