Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


The influence of molten fraction on the uniaxial deformation behavior of polypropylene: Real time mechano-optical and atomic force microscopy observations

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In this study, we have coupled the real time mechano-optical measurements with the off-line structural characterization techniques including AFM, WAXS, and DSC to establish the quantitative relationships between the “true mechano-optical behavior and developed morphology” as influenced by the fraction of molten phase present in the polypropylene films. Stretching PP in the solid state invariably leads to formation of fibrillar texture. The evolution of surface morphology in partially molten state was found to depend on the fraction of the molten phase present at the start of the deformation. If the samples are strained past the yielding in partially molten state, the birefringence begins a rapid rise. Concurrent with this, the equatorial zones of the spherulites begin to crack while meridional regions remaining intact. This leads to temporary reduction of crystallinity because of destruction of some of the crystals. If held in this strained state, the crystallite thickening was observed while the birefringence increases while the lost crystallinity is recovered. If the films are strained past the strain hardening point, the microfibrillar structure was found to dominate the surface morphology. When the films are stretched in the melting temperature range, they exhibit substantial nodular surface topology. These nodules that were absent in the solid state deformed samples are hard lamellae buried inside amorphous “soft matter”. The tangential lamellae increasingly become dominant as the processing temperature approaches substantially molten state leading to the observation of a* oriented crystallites in the X-ray analysis.

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Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics





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