Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Yifu Ding

Second Advisor

Scott Bunch

Third Advisor

Jerry H. Qi

Fourth Advisor

Mark P. Stoykovich

Fifth Advisor

Wei Tan

Abstract

Polymer blend has been an important area in polymer science for decades. The knowledge of polymer blend in bulk is well established and technologies based on it have created products ubiquitous in our daily life. More intriguing problem arises when the phase separation of a polymer blend occurs under physical confinement. In this thesis, we investigated the effect of interfacial interactions between constituent polymers and confinement environment on phase evolution. Specifically, morphologies of thin films of binary polymer blends were examined on chemically homogenous substrates (preferential surface, neutral surface), on chemical pattern, between two parallel rigid substrates, and under thermal embossing/step-and-flash nanoimprint lithography conditions. We found that preferential wetting of selective component dominates the phase evolution, which can be suppressed by the use of neutral surfaces or external pressure. By manipulating these factors, a wide range of unique non-equilibrium micro or nanostructures can thus be achieved.

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