Dissemination of IT for the Promotion of Materials Science (DoITPoMS)

DoITPoMS Micrograph Library Micrograph 558 and full record

Micrograph 558 and full record

Link to image file for micrograph 558
Micrograph no
Brief description
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)
alignment, blend Link to MATTER Glossary entry for blend, composite material Link to MATTER Glossary entry for composite material, high impact polystyrene (HIPS), phase inversion, polybutadiene (PB), polymer composite, polystyrene (PS), rubber Link to MATTER Glossary entry for rubber, rubber-toughened polymer, tough
Composite, Polymer, Polymer composite
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS)
PS - 35%PB
Standard codes
The two polymers are immiscible, resulting in phase separation.
High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) is a classical example of a rubber-toughened polymer. Among its applications are riot shields and shatterproof rulers
Sample preparation
The specimen has been stained with ink to reveal the rubber phase
Transmitted light microscopy
Length bar
20 μm
Further information
High impact polystyrene (HIPS) or 'rubber-toughened polystyrene' is a two-phase mixture of polybutadiene (a synthetic rubber) in polystyrene. The two phases are immiscible, with polybutadiene crystallising out of the melt to form spheroidal particles. In fact, polystyrene is the first phase to crystallise, forming even an even finer dispersion of polystyrene particles which become trapped within the polybutadiene when a phase inversion occurs at around 10% solidification. In the particular region examined in this micrograph, a relatively high local concentration of polybutadiene has resulted in ellipsoid particles or cylinders rather than the more typical spheres.
J A Curran
Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge
Licence for re-use
Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales

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