Triblock copolymers of the type EPE, where E and P denote ethylene oxide and propylene oxide blocks, respectively, are industrially important copolymers often called Pluronics or Poloxamers. EPE copolymers form micelles with a core of P blocks and different micellar shapes depending on block length ratios and temperature. The micellization process with increasing temperature has been followed by a number of techniques including differential scanning calorimetry, liquid chromatography, and surface tension measurements. Different micellization models have been tested for purified copolymers and copolymer mixtures, and evidence in favor of a multi-equilibria unimer-micelle model will be presented. Results obtained by liquid chromatographic methods will be shown and it will be demonstrated that commercial EPE copolymers are inhomogeneous at several levels and many of their unusual properties reflect the presence of these impurities.
Structure and Dynamics of Self-organized Macromolecular Systems, 2006, p. 47-47