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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."

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    $\begingroup$ You better elaborate more about that... $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Aug 5 at 0:26
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    $\begingroup$ 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
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    $\begingroup$ 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
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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.

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

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