PI-b-PMMA diblock copolymers: nanostructure development in thin films and nanostructuring of thermosetting epoxy systems
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Poly(isoprene-block-methyl methacrylate) (PI-b-PMMA) block copolymers with different block ratios have been used to generate nanostructures both in thin films and by nanostructuring a thermosetting epoxy system. Obtained morphologies have been analyzed in terms of atomic force microscopy. The nanostructuring of thin films was carried out by thermal and solvent vapor annealing, in which the copolymer films were exposed to acetone vapors, selective solvent for methyl methacrylate (PMMA) block. By solvent vapor annealing thin films of both copolymers self-assembled into a hexagonally packed cylindrical morphology. Thermal annealing was carried out above the glass transition temperature of both blocks, obtaining worm-like and lamellar morphologies, depending on the block ratio. One of the copolymers has also been used for nanostructuring an epoxy thermosetting system. Morphologies consisting of spherical-shaped PI domains dispersed in a continuous epoxy matrix in which PMMA remained miscible were obtained, independently of the copolymer amount.