Porous Polymer Derived From Cocontinuous Polymer Blends
Cocontinuous polymer blends are phase separated polymers created by melt mixing that consist of two or more immiscible polymers that each form interpenetrated and continuous phases. Cocontinuous blends of polyethylene (PE) and polylactic acid (PLA) were prepared and porous PE was then made by extracting the continuous PLA phase with chloroform. Laser scanning microscope is used to image the pore structure and the software Avizo is used to do 3D reconstruction of the porous structure. Pore size can be calculated based on the reconstruction. The pore size of non-compatibilized PE/PLA blends was on the order of 5 µm. When maleic anhydride grafted PE (PE-g-MA) was blended with PLA, the pore size decreased to 1.2 µm, and the pore size did not increase during annealing. This is presumably from a reaction between the maleic anhydride groups on the PE-g-MA chains and the hydroxyl end group of PLA.
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