Segmental Dynamics in Poly(Methyl Acrylate) on Silica: Molecular-mass Effects

Burak Metin
Frank D. Blum, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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The effect of molecular mass on the segmental dynamics of poly(methyl acrylate) (PMA) adsorbed on silica was studied using deuterium quadrupole-echo nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and modulated differential scanning calorimetry. Samples adsorbed on silica (all about 1.5 mg PMA/m2 silica) were shown to have more restricted segmental mobility, and higher Tg's, than the corresponding bulk PMA samples. Around the glass-transition region, adsorbed samples exhibited segmental mobility, which could be classified as heterogeneous due to a superposition of more-mobile and less-mobile components present in the deuterium NMR spectra. This heterogeneity was consistent with a motional gradient with more-mobile segments near the polymer-air interface and the less-mobile species near the polymer-silica interface. The mobility of the adsorbed 77 kDa PMA sample was the lowest among the four different molecular-mass samples studied. Samples studied with masses both larger and smaller than 77 kDa had larger mobile-component fractions in the adsorbed polymer. The additional mobility was attributed to the presence of either longer tail and loop conformations in the higher molecular-mass samples or the inherent mobility of the tails in the lower molecular-mass samples on the surface.