Surface properties of functional polymer systems

Date of Completion

January 2004


Chemistry, Polymer|Engineering, Materials Science




Polymer surface modification typically involves blending with other polymers or chemical modification of the parent polymer. Such strategies inevitably result in polymer systems that are spatially and chemically heterogeneous, and which exhibit the phenomenon of surface segregation. This work investigates the effects of chain architecture on the surface segregation behavior of such functionally modified polymers using a series of end- and center-fluorinated poly(D,L-lactide). Surface segregation of the fluorinated functional groups was observed in both chain architectures via AMPS and water contact angle. Higher surface segregation was noted for functional groups located at the chain end as opposed to those in the middle of the chain. A self-consistent mean-field lattice theory was used to model the composition depth profiles of functional groups and excellent agreement was found between the model predictions and the experimental AMPS data in both chain architectures. ^ Polymer properties are also in general dependent on both time and temperature, and exhibit a range of relaxation times in response to environmental stimuli. This behavior arises from the characteristic frequencies of molecular motions of the polymer chain and the interrelationship between time and temperature has been widely established for polymer bulk properties. There is evidence that surface properties also respond in a manner that is time and temperature dependent and that this dependence may not be the same as that observed for bulk properties. AMPS and water contact angle experiments were used to investigate the surface reorganization behavior of functional groups using a series of anionically synthesized end-fluorinated and end-carboxylated poly(styrene). It was found that both types of functional end-groups reorganized upon a change in the polarity of the surface environment in order to minimize the surface free energy. ADXPS and contact angle results suggest that the reorganization depth was confined to the top 2–3 nm of the surface. Contact angle results showed also that the reorganization process proceeded as a function of (time) 1/2, indicating that it is likely diffusion controlled. The magnitudes of the activation energies determined from the experimental data according to the Arhenius equation, suggest that the process is possibly correlated with known bulk β and γ relaxations in the polymer. ^