Identification of optically clear regions of ternary polymer blends using a novel rapid screening method

Sukunya Ross*, Paul D. Topham, Brian J. Tighe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The application of a rapid screening method for the construction of ternary phase diagrams is described for the first time, providing detailed visualization of phase boundaries in solvent-mediated blends. Our new approach rapidly identifies ternary blend compositions that afford optically clear materials, useful for applications where transparent films are necessary. The use of 96-well plates and a scanning plate reader has enabled rapid optical characterization to be carried out by transmission spectrophotometry (450 nm), whilst the nature and extent of crystallinity was examined subsequently by wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS). The moderating effect of cellulose acetate butyrate can be visualized as driving the position of the phase boundaries in poly(l-lactic acid)/polycaprolactone (PLLA/PCL) blends. More surprisingly, the boundaries are critically dependent on the molecular weight of the crystallizable PLLA and PCL, with higher molecular weight polymers leading to blends with reduced phase separation. On the other hand, the propensity to crystallize was more evident in shorter chains. WAXS provides a convenient way of characterizing the contribution of the individual blend components to the crystalline regions across the range of blend compositions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalPolymer International
Issue number1
Early online date26 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2014


  • crystallinity
  • phase diagram
  • poly(lactic acid)
  • ternary blend
  • wide angle X-ray scattering


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