Ionic Compatibilization of Polymers

TitleIonic Compatibilization of Polymers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsFredrickson, Glenn H., Shuyi Xie, Jerrick Edmund, My Linh Le, Dan Sun, Douglas J. Grzetic, Daniel L. Vigil, Kris T. Delaney, Michael L. Chabinyc, and Rachel A. Segalman
JournalACS Polymers Au
Date Published07/2022

The small specific entropy of mixing of high molecular weight polymers implies that most blends of dissimilar polymers are immiscible with poor physical properties. Historically, a wide range of compatibilization strategies have been pursued, including the addition of copolymers or emulsifiers or installing complementary reactive groups that can promote the in situ formation of block or graft copolymers during blending operations. Typically, such reactive blending exploits reversible or irreversible covalent or hydrogen bonds to produce the desired copolymer, but there are other options. Here, we argue that ionic bonds and electrostatic correlations represent an underutilized tool for polymer compatibilization and in tailoring materials for applications ranging from sustainable polymer alloys to organic electronics and solid polymer electrolytes. The theoretical basis for ionic compatibilization is surveyed and placed in the context of existing experimental literature and emerging classes of functional polymer materials. We conclude with a perspective on how electrostatic interactions might be exploited in plastic waste upcycling.