The importance of cooperativity in polymer blending: toward controlling the thermoresponsive behavior of blended block copolymer micelles

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  • University of Warwick


Understanding, predicting, and controlling the self-assembly behavior of stimuli-responsive block copolymers remains a pertinent challenge. As such, the copolymer blending protocol provides an accessible methodology for obtaining a range of intermediate polymeric nanostructures simply by blending two or more block copolymers in the desired molar ratio to target specific stimuli-responsiveness. Herein, thermoresponsive diblock copolymers are blended in various combinations to investigate whether the resultant cloud point temperature can be modulated by simple manipulation of the molar ratio. Thermoresponsive amphiphilic diblock copolymers composed of statistical poly(n-butyl acrylate-co-N,N-dimethylacrylamide) core-forming blocks and four different thermoresponsive corona-forming blocks, namely poly(diethylene glycol monomethyl ether methacrylate) (p(DEGMA)), poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), poly(N,N-diethylacrylamide), and poly(oligo(ethylene glycol) monomethyl ether methacrylate) (p(OEGMA)) are selected for evaluation. Using variable temperature turbidimetry, the thermoresponsive behavior of blended diblock copolymer self-assemblies is assessed and compared to the thermoresponsive behavior of the constituent pure diblock copolymer micelles to determine whether comicellization is achieved and more significantly, whether the two blended corona-forming thermoresponsive blocks exhibit cooperative behavior. Interestingly, blended diblock copolymer micelles composed of p(DEGMA)/p(OEGMA) mixed coronae display cooperative behavior, highlighting the potential of copolymer blending for the preparation of stimuli-responsive nanomaterials in applications such as oil recovery, drug delivery, biosensing, and catalysis.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1900599
Number of pages6
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number6
Early online date4 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • thermoresponse, blending, cooperativity, comicellization, self-assembly, thermoresponsive