Influence of molecular composition on the development of microstructure from sheared polyethylene melts: Molecular and lamellar templating
An, Y., Holt, J. J., Mitchell, G. R. and Vaughan, A. S. (2006) Influence of molecular composition on the development of microstructure from sheared polyethylene melts: Molecular and lamellar templating. Polymer, 47 (15). pp. 5643-5656. ISSN 0032-3861
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.polymer.2006.01.097
A combination of in situ and ex situ X-ray scattering techniques and transmission electron microscopy has been used to study the crystallization behaviour of polyethylene, following the imposition of melt shear. In the case of a branched material, the imposition of shear flow up to a rate of 30 s(-1) was found to induce no anisotropy. Although shearing the linear material only ever induced a very small degree of anisotropy in the melt, for shear rates > 0.15 s(-1), subsequent crystallization resulted in increasing anisotropy. Blends of the above two polyethylenes were produced, in which the linear material constituted the minority fraction (similar to 10%). Isothermal crystallization at temperatures where extensive crystallization of the branched material does not occur demonstrated that the behaviour of the linear component of the sheared blend mirrored that of the linear polyethylene alone. However, in addition, it was found that when crystallized in the presence of an oriented morphology, the branched polymer also formed anisotropic structures. We have termed the process templating, in which the crystallization behaviour of the bulk of the system (similar to 90% branched material) is completely altered (spherulitic to oriented lamellar) by mapping it onto a pre-existing minority structure (similar to 10% linear polymer). (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.