Polymer Engineering Faculty Research


Online monitoring of birefringence development in heat-setting polymer films with a fast dual-wavelength optical technique. I. Uniaxially oriented poly (ethylene naphthalate)

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The purpose of this article is to study the fast structural changes that take place during the deformation and heat setting of uniaxially preoriented poly(ethylene 2,6-naphthalate) films. For this purpose, an online birefringence measurement system coupled with a heat-setting oven was used. In the online birefringence system, whose details were reported previously (H. Venkatesvaran and M. Cakmak, SPE ANTEC Tech Pap 1993, 39, 257; H. Venkatesvaran and M. Cakmak, Polym Eng Sci 2001, 41, 341), a green and red laser is passed through the films being annealed in a heat-setting chamber; the resulting data are analyzed for the details of structural mechanisms that take place during this process. This technique is shown to be capable of detecting reversals in birefringence development; as a result, complex sequences of structural evolution can be tracked. The design of this system allows one to observe not only the increase or decrease in birefringence during the course of the heat-setting process but also the rate dependencies on processing variables. In this study, we establish that the rate of structural rearrangement, as detected by birefringence, depends strongly on the state of the pre-existing chain orientation and the level of crystallinity. Increased levels of preorientation in the films results in decreases in the rate of birefringence change during heat setting. This is primarily attributed to the increased levels of steric hindrance developed with the increase in orientation and crystallinity in the preoriented samples.

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Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics





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