Crystallinity of Amphiphilic PE-b-PEG Copolymers

Polymers (Basel). 2022 Sep 2;14(17):3639. doi: 10.3390/polym14173639.


The crystallinity and the growth rate of crystalline structures of polyethylene glycol and polyethylene blocks in polyethylene-b-polyethylene glycol diblock copolymers (PE-b-PEG) were evaluated and compared to polyethylene and polyethylene glycol homopolymers. Melting and crystallization behaviours of PE-b-PEG copolymers with different molecular weights and compositions are investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The polyethylene/polyethylene glycol block ratio of the copolymers varies from 17/83 to 77/23 (weight/weight). The influence of the composition of PE-b-PEG copolymer on the ability of each block to crystallize has been determined. Thermal transition data are correlated with optical polarized microscopy, used to investigate the morphology and growth rate of crystals. The results show that the crystallization of the polyethylene block is closer to the polyethylene homopolymer when the copolymer contains more than 50 wt. % of polyethylene in the copolymer. For PE-b-PEG copolymers containing more than 50 wt. % of polyethylene glycol, the polyethylene glycol block morphology is almost similar to the PEG homopolymer. An important hindrance of each block on the crystallization growth rate of the other block has been revealed.

Keywords: PE; PE-b-PEG copolymers; PEG; crystallization; differential scanning calorimetry; optical microscopy.

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