Thermoresponsive poly(2-oxazoline) block copolymers exhibiting two cloud points: complex multistep assembly behavior

L.T.T. Trinh, H.M.L. Lambermont - Thijs, U.S. Schubert, R. Hoogenboom, A.L. Kjoniksen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aqueous solutions of poly(2-oxazoline) block copolymers consisting of a 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline block and a block consisting of a random copolymer of 2-ethyl-2-oxazoline and 2-n-propyl-2-oxazoline (PEtOx-block-P(EtOx-stat-PropOx)) have been studied by dynamic light scattering (DLS), static light scattering (SLS), and turbidimetry. Even at temperatures significantly below the lower critical solution temperature (LCST), polymer unimers are found to coexist with a few large aggregates with an open structure. When heated, the systems exhibit an intricate transmittance behavior whereby the samples becomes visually clear again after an initial cloud point and then exhibit a second cloud point at even higher temperatures. The DLS data indicate that the aggregates formed around the first cloud point restructure and fragment into smaller micelle-like structures ascribed to further dehydration of the more hydrophobic PPropOx containing block, causing the samples to become optically clear again. The observed fragmentation is confirmed by the SLS experiments. At even higher temperatures, both blocks become hydrophobic, causing the formation of large, compact aggregates, resulting in a second cloud point
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4337-4345
JournalMacromolecules
Volume45
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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