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Determination of correlation lengths in swollen polymer networks by small-angle neutron-scattering

Davidson, N.S. and Richards, R.W. and Maconnachie, A. (1986) Determination of correlation lengths in swollen polymer networks by small-angle neutron-scattering. Macromolecules, 19 (2). pp. 434-441. ISSN 0024-9297

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The analogy between semidilute polymer solutions and swollen polymer networks is reviewed and some implications of current theories are considered. Small-angle neutron scattering has been used to measure a characteristic correlation length in randomly cross-linked polystyrene gels at swelling equilibrium in cyclohexane over the range 308-333 K and in toluene at ambient temperature. The equilibrium polymer volume fraction ranged from ca. 0.01 to 0.3, depending on the cross-link density and the solvent used. These results, together with those from earlier quasi-elastic light scattering measurements, were compared with reported scaling laws for polymer solutions. Although similar behavior was noted, the presence of permanent cross-links restricts the region wherein strong excluded volume effects are evident.