Small Angle X-Ray Scattering Studies of Zinc Stearate-Filled Sulfonated EPDM Ionomers
The crystallization, melting, and dissolution behavior of zinc stearate (ZnSt) in ZnSt-filled sulfonated poly(ethylene-co-propylene-co-ethylidene norbornene) (SEPDM) ionomers was studied by synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The melting temperature of ZnSt in the ionomer was considerably lower than in the pure state, which was consistent with the existence of very small ZnSt crystalline domains and a specific interaction between the metal sulfonate groups of the SEPDM and the metal carboxylate groups of ZnSt. Temperature-resolved SAXS showed that, on melting, some or all of the ZnSt rapidly dissolved into the ionomer. Ionic aggregates in the neat ionomer persisted up to 300°C. Microphase separation was also observed at elevated temperatures for the ZnSt-filled ionomers, but the composition of the microdomains was believed to be quite different than that of the microdomains in the neat SEPDM. The time and temperature dependence of the ZnSt crystallization in the filled ionomers was characterized by time-resolved SAXS experiments following a temperature quench from the melt.