Self-Stratified Films Obtained from Poly(methyl methacrylate/n-butyl acrylate) Colloidal Dispersions Containing Poly(vinyl alcohol): A Spectroscopic Study

Marek W. Urban, University of Southern Mississippi

Originally published in Langmuir, 2008, 24, 1808-1813

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These studies focus on the role of poly(vinyl alcohol) (pVOH) during colloidal synthesis of poly(methyl methacrylate/n-butyl acrylate) (pMMA/nBA) and its effect on particle coalescence. Using 2D photoacoustic FT-IR spectroscopy and internal reflection IR imaging, we showed that the presence of pVOH creates competing environments between the copolymer particle surfaces, aqueous phases, and dispersing agents which results in migration and self-induced stratification occurring during coalescence. pMMA/nBA/pVOH films stratify to form sodium dodecyl sulfate rich film-air interfaces, and the -SO3- moieties exhibit preferential parallel orientation with respect to the surface. At the same time, the bulk of the film is dominated by intramolecular hydrogen bonding between the pVOH phase and the copolymer matrix. This behavior is attributed to significant interactions between pVOH and pMMA/nBA, resulting in limited mobility of pVOH.