When a small-molecule ionic crystal is group-substituted with polymer chain-segments to form an ionomer, do its constrained ionic aggregates maintain ordered internal structures? This work presents, for a Na-salt sulfonated-polystyrene ionomer, reconciled TEM electron-diffraction schlieren textures and WAXS Bragg-type reflections from the ionic-aggregate nanodomains, which solidly prove the aggregates' internal (mono)crystalline order. The observed DSC endotherm of the ionomer, identified by WAXS as an order-disorder transition interior to its aggregates, gradually becomes enhanced over a 3-month, room-temperature physical aging process, indicating that the aggregates' ordering is a slow relaxation process in which the degree of order increases with time. This work corroborates an uncommon form of order, i.e., polymer-bound small-molecule ionic (quasi)crystal, which is supplementary to the order phenomena in small molecules, polymers, and liquid crystals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry