Melt structure and its transformation by sequential crystallization of the two blocks within poly(L-lactide)-block-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) double crystalline diblock copolymers
Hamley, I.W., Parras, P., Castelletto, V., Castillo, R.V., Muller, A.J., Pollet, E., Dubois, P. and Martin, C.M. (2006) Melt structure and its transformation by sequential crystallization of the two blocks within poly(L-lactide)-block-poly(epsilon-caprolactone) double crystalline diblock copolymers. Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, 207 (11). pp. 941-953. ISSN 1022-1352
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/macp.200600085
Sequential crystallization of poly(L-lactide) (PLLA) followed by poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) in double crystalline PLLA-b-PCL diblock copolymers is studied by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), polarized optical microscopy (POM), wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Three samples with different compositions are studied. The sample with the shortest PLLA block (32 wt.-% PLLA) crystallizes from a homogeneous melt, the other two (with 44 and 60% PLLA) from microphase separated structures. The microphase structure of the melt is changed as PLLA crystallizes at 122 degrees C (a temperature at which the PCL block is molten) forming spherulites regardless of composition, even with 32% PLLA. SAXS indicates that a lamellar structure with a different periodicity than that obtained in the melt forms (for melt segregated samples). Where PCL is the majority block, PCL crystallization at 42 degrees C following PLLA crystallization leads to rearrangement of the lamellar structure, as observed by SAXS, possibly due to local melting at the interphases between domains. POM results showed that PCL crystallizes within previously formed PLLA spherulites. WAXS data indicate that the PLLA unit cell is modified by crystallization of PCL, at least for the two majority PCL samples. The PCL minority sample did not crystallize at 42 degrees C (well below the PCL homopolymer crystallization temperature), pointing to the influence of pre-crystallization of PLLA on PCL crystallization, although it did crystallize at lower temperature. Crystallization kinetics were examined by DSC and WAXS, with good agreement in general. The crystallization rate of PLLA decreased with increase in PCL content in the copolymers. The crystallization rate of PCL decreased with increasing PLLA content. The Avrami exponents were in general depressed for both components in the block copolymers compared to the parent homopolymers. Polarized optical micrographs during isothermal crystalli zation of (a) homo-PLLA, (b) homo-PCL, (c) and (d) block copolymer after 30 min at 122 degrees C and after 15 min at 42 degrees C.