Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) blends with two tactic poly(methyl methacrylate)s [PMMAs; isotactic poly(methyl methacrylate) (iPMMA) and syndiotactic poly(methyl methacrylate) (sPMMA)], being chiral/tactic polymer pairs, were investigated with regard to their crystalline spherulite patterns, optical birefringence, and amorphous phase behavior with polarized optical microscopy and differential scanning calorimetry. The PHB/sPMMA and PHB/iPMMA blends exhibited upper critical solution temperatures of about 225 and 240°C, respectively, on the basis of the results of thermal analysis and phase morphology. The interactions of two constituents in the blends (PHB/iPMMA or PHB/sPMMA) were measured to be insignificantly different for the PHB/sPMMA and PHB/iPMMA blends. However, syndiotacticity in PMMA exerted a prominent effect on the alteration of the PHB spherulite morphology, whereas, by contrast, isotacticity in PMMA had almost no effect at all. At high sPMMA contents (e.g., 30 wt %) in the PHB/sPMMA blend, the spherulites were all negatively birefringent and ringless when they were crystallized at any crystallization temperature between 50 and 90°C. That is, not only was the original ring-banded pattern in the neat PHB spherulites completely disrupted, but the optical sign was also reverted completely from positively to negatively birefringent in the sPMMA/PHB blend; this was not observed in the iPMMA/PHB one.
- phase behavior