Polymer Engineering Faculty Research

Solvent annealing thin films of poly (isoprene- b-lactide)

Kevin Cavicchi, The University of Akron


The use of solvent annealing to control the microdomain orientation and long-range ordering in poly(isoprene-b-d,l-lactide) thin films was investigated using scanning force microscopy and grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS). Benzene and chloroform were used as annealing solvents. Both were found to improve the long-range order in the films. Additionally, at high concentrations of chloroform in the film, a perpendicular orientation of cylinders was observed where the solvent was able to mediate interfacial interactions sufficiently to prevent a preferential segregation of one of the blocks to the surface. In situ GISAXS measurements made during solvent swelling and evaporation allowed an examination of the film morphology over a wide range of solvent concentrations providing a efficient route to optimize conditions for morphology control by solvent annealing.