In contrast to chemically bonded polymers, reversibly associated polymers (e.g. via hydrogen bonding) have the capability to reversibly change their chain architecture by responding to changes of external conditions. Blends of associating polymers of different chemical structure are capable of self-organization on both micro- and macroscopic level. The phase behavior of associated polymers can be manipulated by changing external factors such as temperature, flow, applied forces, addition of salt and so on. These properties are of potential technological importance for microelectronics, processing and biomedical applications.
We will consider the theoretically predicted phase behavior for blends of associated polymers capable of forming comb-like chains by hydrogen bonding with oligomers. These predictions will be compared with experimental results for blends of poly(4-vinylpyridine) and pentadecylphenol.
Among chemically synthesized polymers capable of hydrogen bonding there is a class of biocompatible and water soluble polymers, which represent the bridge between the traditional area of chemistry and biology, possessing properties typical of both. The high solubility of such polymers in water is achieved by hydrogen bond formation between the polymer and water. One of the examples of such biocompatible polymers is polyethylene oxide (PEO). We will consider the association behavior and properties of PEO in aqueous solutions and compare our theoretical results with experimental data and computer simulation results.