The morphological evolution of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)/octaisobutyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (IBUPOSS) films was analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and polarized optical microscopy (POM). The morphologies of the blend films with PCL/IBUPOSS mass ratios of 95:5 to 50:50 were discussed according to decomposition mechanism in relation to film composition and thickness. In addition to the morphological regime for films with lower IBUPOSS loadings, in which the growth of PCL spherulites was nearly independent on the presence of fine IBUPOSS aggregates, two new morphological regimes were observed for the films with higher IBUPOSS loadings: (1) thicker blend films exhibited a rich dynamics, giving rise to a trilayer structure and (2) the decomposition of thinner films was induced by the kinetically controlled growth of IBUPOSS aggregates. By varying the thickness and the composition of the blend films, the current study provides important new insight into the rich phase behavior of nanoparticle-filled polymer films.
- Composite films
- Scanning electron microscopy