Colloidal phase separation of concentrated PNIPAm solutions.
ABSTRACT In the concentration range of 1-6 wt %, solutions of a thermosensitive polymer (poly-N-isopropylacrylamide (PNIPAm), Mw = 1.4 x 10(5) g.mol(-1)) are shown to phase separate in the form of dense stable colloids of nearly pure polymer. Diffuse wave spectroscopy and small-angle neutron scattering both provide consistent measurements of the colloidal size as a function of temperature. Results are in agreement with a Cahn regime of spinodal decomposition blocked at an early stage, prior to a growth that would lead to a macroscopic phase separation. [Early results of this work were presented at the 231st American Chemical Society National Meeting, Symposium on Amphiphilic Polymers, Atlanta, GA, 2006, March 26-30.].