Using fluorescence microscopy, DSC and DMTA we have explored blends of a bitumen with a styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) block copolymer, and with blends of the bitumen with SBS and one or two homopolymers - a polystyrene and a poly(cis-butadiene). The SBS polymer was progressively replaced with quantities of the homopolymers both together in the proportions found in the block copolymer and then by each homopolymer separately. At low temperatures the blends are all softer than the bitumen itself, so the polymers plasticise the bitumen-rich phase, and above 50°C the blends' stiffness (E') falls below a plateau only when a critical proportion of the block copolymer has been replaced with the two homopolymers: this supports the idea of an extensive network created by the polystyrene-rich spherical microphases that is effective even when the polystyrene microphases have melted. In one polymer blend the stiffness rose as the temperature was raised above 100°C, suggesting the development of a mesophase based upon polybutadiene plus asphaltenes, in another E' was enhanced and E" remained constant as the temperature rose above 70°C, perhaps for a similar reason; in some loss process appeared and the stiffness fell as temperature rose; but in others a good part of the SBS was replaced by either polystyrene or polybutadiene without changing the appearance of a rubbery plateau, that is, without a diminution of the mechanical properties of the soft matter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics