Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Molecular orientation behavior of poly (vinyl chloride) as influenced by the nanoparticles and plasticizer during uniaxial film stretching in the rubbery stage

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The structural evolution during uniaxial stretching of poly(vinyl chloride) films was studied using our real time spectral birefringence stretching machine. The effect of clay loading and the amount of plasticizer as well as the rate effects on the birefringence development and true mechanical response are presented with a final model summarizing the molecular phenomena during stretching. Mechano-optical studies revealed that birefringence correlated with mechanical response (stress, strain, work) nonlinearly. This was primarily attributed to the preexisting strong network of largely amorphous chains connected via small crystallites that act as physical crosslinking points. These crystallites are not easily destroyed during the high-speed stretching process as evidenced from the birefringence–true strain curves along with the X-ray crystallinity measurements. At high speeds, the amorphous chains do not have enough time to relax and hence attain higher orientation levels. The crystallites, however, orient more efficiently when stretched at slow speeds. Apparently, some relaxation of the surrounding amorphous chains helps rotate the crystallites in the stretching direction. Overall birefringence is higher at high stretching speeds for a given true strain value. When the nanoparticles are incorporated, the orientation levels are increased significantly for both the crystalline and amorphous phases. Nanoplatelets increase the continuity of the network because they have strong interaction with the amorphous chains and/or crystallites. This in turn helps transfer the local stresses to the attached chains and increase the orientation levels of the chains.

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Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics





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