Analysis of polymer membrane formation through spinodal decomposition. III: Two‐dimensional simulations of early‐stage behavior

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A nonlinear diffusion equation is used to study early‐stage spinodal decomposition of polymer solutions, in relation to the membrane formation, in two dimensions. The effects of overall polymer composition and composition‐dependent mobility and diffusivity are included in our simulations. Our results show a kinetically stable structure is established during the early stages, which corresponds to a circular range of peaks in the two‐dimensional frequency spectrum. Such a spectrum is found to result in an interconnected cell structure in the two‐dimensional real space. A decrease in the level of polymer interdomain interconnectedness is obtained as time increases, which indicates the influence of interfacial tension. As the overall polymer composition is increased, an increase in interdomain distances is observed, although the same early stage morphological structure is obtained. Finally, calculated interdomain distances from the two‐dimensional simulation are larger than those obtained in equivalent one‐dimensional model systems. Copyright © 1993 Society of Plastics Engineers

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Polymer Engineering & Science