Journal of physical chemistry b vol:110 issue:11 pages:5321-5329
Small-angle neutron-scattering measurements are presented for homogeneous mixtures of poly (methyl vinyl ether) (PVME) and deuterium oxide (D2O) at high polymer concentrations and for temperatures lower than the equilibrium melting point of the solvent. The experimental data are analyzed to give values for the second-order compositional derivative of the Gibbs energy and the Ornstein-Zernike correlation length. The experimental data together with earlier SANS data determined at higher temperatures cannot be represented with an extended Flory-Huggins (F-H) interaction function depending on composition and temperatures. The experimental data confirm the existence of a narrow upper critical solution temperature (UCST) miscibility gap at high concentrations in agreement with theoretical predictions of the Wertheim lattice thermodynamic perturbation theory (LTPT). The Wertheim LTPT incorporates the influence of hydrogen bonding and predicts not only the existence of bimodal lower critical solution temperature (LCST) phase behavior but also the occurrence of highly unconventional two narrow adjacent UCST miscibility gaps. Finally, the experimental data do not support the existence of a stable molecular complex at the investigated temperatures and compositions. Even at the lowest investigated temperature, the energy required to induce typical Ornstein-Zernike-like concentration fluctuations is smaller than the thermal energy. Also, in this case, the Wertheim LTPT provides a theoretical basis to understand the formation of polymer solvent associations in PVME/water.