Nanostructure of PEO-polyurethane-PEO triblock copolymer micelles in water.

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Novel hydrophilic triblock copolymers which form micelles in aqueous solution were studied by static and dynamic light scattering (SLS and DLS), small angle neutron scattering (SANS) and densitometry. The polymers were symmetric A–B–A block copolymers having two poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) tail blocks and a polyurethane (PU) center segment that contained pendant carboxylic acids. The aggregation number of the micelles decreased with increasing PEO mass content. When attempting to fit the SANS data it was found that no single model was suitable over the entire range of block lengths and PEO mass concentrations investigated here. For the polymer with the highest aggregation number, the data were fitted with a triblock model consisting of a homogeneous core with a corona of non-interacting Gaussian chains for which only two free parameters were required: the radius of the core and the radius of gyration of the corona. In this case, the core was found to be effectively dry. At lower aggregation numbers, a star polymer model generated significantly better fits, suggesting the absence of any identifiable central core structure. Good agreement was found between the sizes measured by DLS, SANS and theoretical predictions of micelle size from a density distribution theory. These results show that when significant changes in aggregation number occur, the nanostructure of the micelle can change substantially even for polymers that are remarkably similar. © 2010, Elsevier Ltd.
Copolymers, Water, Nanostructures, Polyethylene glycols, Polyurethanes, Small angle scattering
Caba, B. L., Zhang, Q., Carroll, M. R. J., Woodward, R. C., St Pierre, T. G., Gilbert, E. P., Riffle, J.S., & Davis, R.M. (2010). Nanostructure of PEO-polyurethane-PEO triblock copolymer micelles in water. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 344(1), 81-89. doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2009.12.049