Journal of colloid and interface science vol:328 issue:1 pages:48-57
The influence of molecular weight asymmetry across an interface on the transient behavior of the interfacial tension is investigated for two different polymer combinations, polybutadiene (PBD)/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and polybutene (PB)/PDMS. This choice ensures a minor diffuse interface using the first combination and a very diffuse interface in the latter case. Measurements of the interfacial tension as a function of time are carried out using a pendent/sessile drop apparatus at different temperatures ranging from 0 degrees C to 80 degrees C. Variations in the transient interfacial tension are attributed to diffusion of the lower molecular weight components from one phase into the other and the most pronounced changes are measured for the most diffusive systems (low molecular weight and high polydispersity) when diffusion goes from the drop into the matrix. By reversing the phases, only minor changes in the transient interfacial tension are measured. This is due to a fast saturation of the drop-phase since the drop volume is much smaller than that of the continuous phase. In all cases investigated, after a sufficient time a steady value of the interfacial tension is reached. In order to estimate the characteristic diffusion times of the migrating species, a discrete solution of the diffusion equation and a kinetic model from literature are applied. Results obtained are in line with the experimental observations. The importance of a changing interfacial tension on morphology development is studied on dilute (1%) blends, using two in situ techniques: small angle light scattering (SALS) and optical microscopy (OM). The SALS patterns yield the time evolution of the drop size, which is subsequently compared with the morphology following from OM. Depending on the diffusivity of the system, the morphology development is dominated by either diffusion or coalescence. Existing sharp-interface drainage models indeed do not apply for the diffuse blends and an improved quantitative estimation of the value of the critical film thickness is needed. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.