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How to judge the compatibility between polymers? 8 ways to tell you

Time : 2023-07-13 Hits : 8

The compatibility between polymers is frequently closely related to the mechanical and processing characteristics of the blends when polymers are modified or blended. The mixes typically have strong processing and mechanical qualities. Therefore, while mixing, it is crucial to use several polymer kinds. The methods for determining how well two polymers get along are described in the sections that follow.

The solubility parameter value is a rather straightforward approach for determining how compatible high polymers are, and numerous publications provide the solubility parameter values of high polymers that are often employed. In general, there will be strong compatibility between one or more polymers with identical solubility properties. The only high polymers that can be produced with this approach are non-polar or low-polar ones, including hydrocarbon polymers, halogen-containing polymers, or ester-containing polymers. The idea of identical solubility parameters cannot be satisfied for polymers with high polarity or strong hydrogen bonding.

Co-solvent approach

Phase separation is shown when the mixture is dissolved in a common solvent, suggesting that the two polymers are incompatible, as opposed to a homogenous solution, which shows that the two polymers are compatible. Due to the effects of solution concentration and temperature, this approach is unreliable.

Cloud-point technique

At any ratio and temperature, the mixtures created by two polymers are frequently incompatible with one another. Within a specific ratio and temperature range, some polymers can only be totally compatible (form a homogenous system); outside of those parameters, phase separation will take place and the system will become two-phase. It is split into two categories with "low critical compatibility temperature" (LCST) and "high critical compatibility temperature" (UCST) in accordance with the various phase separation temperatures. as seen below. 

blend compatibility temperature

Phase separation in the mix system is depicted schematically in the diagram.

(In the illustration, the two-phase region is the area that is shaded.)

The phase diagram of the blend represents the connection between the blend's phase separation temperature and the composition at which it occurs. The compatibility of blend components may readily be studied using the phase separation behavior shown by the blend phase diagram.

Its light transmittance will alter as the mix transforms from a homogenous system to a two-phase system. The cloud point is the name of this phase transition point, and it may be measured using the cloud point measurement technique. In the theoretical investigation of compatibility, the cloud point approach is a frequently employed technique.

Thin film technique

Refractive indices vary amongst polymers in general. The mixture is homogenized into a solution, and then it is transformed into a film. Extremely low transparency and brittleness in the film are signs that the two phases are incompatible. The film is compatible if it is both transparent and durable. It can be challenging to appraise this procedure since the film's transparency might occasionally alter gradually, making it impossible to know if it is compatible or not up front. Additionally, it is feasible to immediately make a thin plate using melt molding and then evaluate its transparency to determine the compatibility of the polymer.However, this approach cannot be utilized to distinguish between polymers that have the same refractive index.


This is an excellent tool for studying the blend's two-phase distribution. This technique allows us to more precisely discriminate between the copolymer's compatibility. Distribution, morphology, and inclusion structure may all be used to identify the particle size of the dispersed phase in incompatible mixtures. The kind of polymer to which the dispersed phase belongs may also be established using measurements of dispersed particles and refractive index. It is usual to utilize transmission and scanning electron microscopes. The former can monitor very small particle sizes because to its resolution, which is capable of varying from 0.1 to 100 nm. The phase structure of the blend sample was examined using a transmission electron microscope after the blend sample had been treated using frozen ultrathin section and dyeing techniques.

The so-called suitable mix system has not truly gotten to the molecular level, it has been discovered by this method. Dispersion, that is, from a microscopic perspective, there are still two phases spread. The dispersed phase's particles and distribution can be viewed with the scanning electron microscope, but the resolution is poor because of how readily the section may be observed. A phase contrast microscope can be used in addition to the two electron microscopes mentioned above to view the dispersion of particles at the micron scale.

Method of the glass transition temperature

There are three possible scenarios for the blend's glass transition temperature, Tg. The first one exhibits just one Tg transition, demonstrating compatibility between the two polymers. The fact that the second one displayed two Tg transitions and that the two Tg locations were identical to those of the original polymer demonstrated that this particular group of polymers was totally incompatible. The third exhibits two Tg transitions, but their locations have shifted and are now near to one another, demonstrating the partial compatibility of this set of polymers. There are several approaches to figuring out the Tg transition, including the dynamic mechanical technique, mechanical analysis, differential thermal analysis, differential calorimetry scanning approach, dilatometer approach, dielectric approach, and thermo-optic analysis approach.

Spectroscopy in the infrared

Studies on the compatibility of mix ingredients can also be conducted using infrared spectroscopy. The interaction between the components in a blend system will result in a change in the blend's infrared spectrum band relative to the band of a single component, and the shift mostly affects the band locations of certain groups. When hydrogen bonds are created between the blend's constituent parts, the change becomes more obvious.

Reversed-Phase Chromatography

Phase-reversal chromatography

Reversed-phase chromatography is a technique used to examine the compatibility of blend systems and to ascertain how the blend's constituent parts separate during the phase transition. A specific tiny molecule is used in reverse-phase chromatography as a "probe molecule" to gauge the system's retention volume (Vg). The retention mechanism of the probe molecule alters during the phase separation of the blend, deviating lg Vg-1/T from a straight line, and the inflection point is where the phase state of the blend system changes. Reversed phase chromatography can be used to detect the phase separation behavior for some blended components with identical refractive indices when the cloud point approach cannot.

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