When talking about polymer blends there is a difference between its structure and morphology, but I am not sure what it is. These two terms are used interchangeably in materials I use to study, but I don't see what is the difference if any.

Quote from my materials: "Properties of polymer blends are determined by component interactions and blend morphology." The next sentence: "Blend structure is determined by miscibillity of components."

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You better elaborate more about that... $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 5 at 0:26
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Morphology and structure can be very ambiguous terms, meaning just about anything (shape, tacticity, molecular conformation, macromolecular or crystal arrangement). It would be nice to see a good ("canonical") answer from somebody knowledgeable. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Aug 5 at 8:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You might want to check the IUPAC Compendium of Polymer Terminology and Nomenclature. $\endgroup$
    – Loong
    Aug 5 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ They appear to be used as synonyms in this context. It is a reference to the structure-function paradigm in the context of polymer blends, where chain structure has a role to play in determining miscibility and therefore phase structure. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Aug 5 at 11:46

In short: it may be used as a question of scale.

  • A polymer blend is a physical mixture of two (or more than two) polymers. As such, you may compare it with granite, mainly consisting of grains of feldspar, quartz, and mica put together; here, different chemical compounds are present in one material and they retain their individual local chemistry.

  • This contrasts to a copolymer (e.g., polyesters, polyamides) like PET, or nylon; here, the constituents are chemically bound together and form a new compound.

  • Even for the (carbon based) polymers said to be crystalline, or to contain small local volumes with some regular, crystalline order, it is rare for polymers to have a unit cell-like local pattern which repeats itself in a predictable fashion multiple thousand times in the three directions of space by simple translation as observed, e.g., for $\ce{NaCl}$.

Thus structure (in the narrow sense) may be used to describe the spatial arrangement of polymer's atoms at a small scale (say a up to few $\pu{10 Å}$). On the other hand, in comparison of the former, morphology is about shape/form/organization at larger scale of length (even if still microscopic) as e.g., for spherulites, domains, grains including properties observable if many molecules are in one place e.g., to yield a rough (vs. a smooth) surface.

  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this may be true. It is a question of scale. $\endgroup$ Aug 5 at 12:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.