The emulsifying effect of block copolymers in immiscible homopolymer blends is studied theoretically, using a general formalism for inhomogeneous multicomponent polymer systems developed earlier by the authors. The reduction in interfacial tension with increasing block copolymer concentration is calculated for a range of copolymer and homopolymer molecular weights, and comparison is made with the experimental results of Riess and co-workers on the polystyrene-polybutadiene-copolymer-styrene system. The calculated interfacial density profiles clearly show greater exclusion of the homopolymers from the interphase region as the molecular weight of the block copolymer is increased. We also estimate the critical concentration of block copolymer required for micellar aggregation in the bulk of the homopolymer.
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