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The batch-foaming behavior of multiphase polymer blends and block copolymers was systematically investigated using carbon dioxide as a blowing agent. Three different polymer systems were evaluated: (i) nanostructured triblock terpolymers, (ii) microstructured polymer blends, and (iii) nanostructured polymer blends. In order to obtain nanostructured blends, immiscible blends of poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene ether)/poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile) (PPE/SAN) were melt-compatibilised via polystyrene-b-polybutadiene-b-poly(methyl methacrylate) triblock terpolymers. Due to the specific interaction between the respective components, a nanostructured interphase between PPE and SAN was observed. With regard to neat block copolymers, the self-assembly of solvent-cast SBM triblock terpolymers was exploited in order to produce nanostructured morphologies. In each case, the resulting foam morphology was characterized by evaluating the foam density as well as the cell size. Combined with the multiphase structure of the non-foamed material and its thermal as well as physical behavior, relationships between the foaming characteristics and the cellular morphology were established. As an example for the foaming results, submicro-cellular structures were observed by foaming nanostructured polymer blends, while the cell walls still revealed the nanostructured morphology. In contrast, batch-foaming of neat triblock terpolymers led to the formation of microcellular foams; however, as highlighted by scanning electron microscopy, the cell walls did undergo some further expansion and formed additional nano-sized cells. In the light of these results, new routes for preparing cellular polymers are derived by systematically exploiting the multiphase characteristics of polymer blends and block copolymers.
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- Projekt: SFB 481 TP A10: Morphologieentwicklung in Polymerblends und Blockcopolymeren während des Schäumens mit selektiven Lösungsmitteln