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Toughening Cellulose: Compatibilizing Polybutadiene and Cellulose Triacetate Blends

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journal contribution
posted on 02.04.2019, 17:18 authored by Kyle J. Arrington, James V. Haag IV, Eric V. French, Mitsuhiro Murayama, Kevin J. Edgar, John B. Matson
We report the synthesis of an ABA triblock copolymer of the structure CTA-b-PB-b-CTA (CTA = cellulose triacetate and PB = polybutadiene) and its ability to compatibilize immiscible CTA/PB polymer blends. CTA-b-PB-b-CTA was synthesized via ring-opening metathesis polymerization of cyclooctadiene (COD) in the presence of CTA containing a single olefin on the reducing end. The ABA triblock copolymer was incorporated into CTA/PB blends, resulting in films that were clear, tough, and creaseable, and increases in modulus, elongation at break, and toughness were observed with addition of as little as 1 wt % compatibilizer. Scanning electron microscopy revealed well-defined PB phases in the CTA matrix that decreased in domain size as more compatibilizer was added. This work may enhance the application scope of CTA and other cellulose-derived renewable polymers.