Morphological and Physical Characterization of Poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) Block Copolymers and Ionomers Thereof

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Polymers and High Performance Materials

First Advisor

Robson F. Storey

Advisor Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials


Poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) block copolymers made by living cationic polymerization using a difunctional initiator and the sequential monomer addition technique were analyzed using curve-resolution software in conjunction with high-resolution GPC. Fractional precipitation and selective solvent extraction were applied to a representative sample in order to confirm the identity of contaminating species. The latter were found to be low molecular weight polystyrene homopolymer, diblock copolymer, and higher molecular weight segmented block copolymers formed by intermolecular electrophilic aromatic substitution linking reactions occurring late in the polymerization of the styrene outer blocks. Solvent-cast films of poly(styrene-isobutylene-styrene) (PS-PIB-PS) block copolymers and block ionomers were analyzed using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Four block copolymer samples with center block molecular weights of 52,000 g/mol and PS volume fractions (o sbPS$) ranging from 0.17 to 0.31 were studied. All samples exhibited hexagonally packed cylinders of PS within the PIB matrix. Cylinder spacing was in the range 32 to 36 nm for most samples, while cylinder diameters varied from 14 to 21 nm. Porod analysis of the scattering data indicated the presence of isolated phase mixing and sharp phase boundaries. PS-PIB-PS block copolymers and ionomers therefrom were analyzed using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and tensile testing. The study encompassed five block copolymer samples with similar PIB center blocks with molecular weights of $\approx$52,000 g/mol and PS weight fractions ranging from 0.127 to 0.337. Ionomers were prepared from two of these materials by lightly sulfonating the PS outer blocks. Sulfonation levels varied from 1.7 to 4.7 mol % and the sodium and potassium neutralized forms were compared to the parent block copolymers. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) of the block copolymer films indicated the existence of a third phase attributed to PIB chains near the PS domain interface which experience reduced mobility due to their firm attachment to the hard PS domain. The relative amount of this phase decreased in samples with larger PS blocks, while the temperature of the associated transition increased. Tensile testing showed increased tensile strength but decreased elongation at break with larger PS blocks. DMA of the ionomers indicated improved dynamic modulus at temperatures above 100$\sp\circ$C. Tensile testing of the ionomers indicated slight improvements in tensile strength with little loss in elongation at break. PS-PIB-PS block copolymer ionomer (BCP01, center block molecular weight = 53,000 g/mole; 25.5 wt % polystyrene, 4.7% sulfonation of phenyl units, 100% neutralized with KOH) was compounded with various organic and inorganic acid salts of 2-ethylhexyl-p-dimethyl aminobenzoate (ODAB) to explore the efficacy of these compounds as ionic plasticizers. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)