Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

Experimental approaches for assessing interfacial behavior of polymer films during dissolution in aqueous base

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We describe here experiments aimed at probing the interracial behavior of thin polymer films during dissolution. We have constructed and characterized a unique quartz-crystal microbalance dissolution rate monitor that allows changes in both oscillation frequency and resistance to be accurately recorded at high data rates during film dissolution. Depending on polymer structure and properties, the resistance can remain nearly constant, or can undergo enormous fluctuations that are indicative of transient changes in mechanical properties of the polymer layer during the dissolution process. A theoretical description allows the measured resistance to be related to the structure and properties of the dissolving film. This QCM apparatus has been coupled with a custom high-speed visible reflectance spectrometer, and with an infrared spectrometer, to provide information on the structure of the dissolving film and its chemical composition. The dissolution and swelling of well-defined acrylic and alicyclic copolymers in aqueous base has been examined using these techniques. © 2001 SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering.