Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Morphology of compacted polyethylene fibres


The microstructure of aggregates of parallel high-modulus polyethylene fibres, compacted at 138°C to give a composite with good mechanical properties, has been examined. Detail of transverse and longitudinal cross-sections has been revealed by permanganic etching and studied electron microscopically. The fibres pack together irregularly with coordination numbers typically between 4 and 7 and fibre diameters in the range 10–20 μm. Misalignment of fibres is generally close to zero but does occur incrementally, by 10° and more, between successive rows of fibres. A substantial proportion of fibres has deformed, often by shear, during treatment producing a broadening of interfibrillar contacts. A lamellar component of texture is present both between and within fibres. It is inferred to form by melting of those parts of the fibres where there is least constraint on the melt, followed by recrystallization on the fibres as nuclei. The lamellae therefore share the axial orientation of the fibres, while the crystallographic fibre/lamellar contact promotes good transverse properties.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    P. J. Hine, I. M. Ward, R. H. Olley and D. C. Bassett, J. Mater. Sci. 28 (1993) 0000.

  2. 2.

    R. H. Olley and D. C. Bassett, Polymer 23 (1982) 1707.

  3. 3.

    J. H. M. Willison and A. J. Rowe, “Replica, Shadowing and Freeze-Etching Techniques” (North Holland, Amsterdam, 1980).

  4. 4.

    D. C. Bassett, A. M. Hodge and R. H. Olley, Proc. Roy. Soc. A 377 (1981) 39.

  5. 5.

    J. D. Hoffmann, G. S. Frolen, G. S. Ross and J. I. Lauritzen, J. Res. Nat. Bur. Stand. A 79 (1975) 761.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Olley, R.H., Bassett, D.C., Hine, P.J. et al. Morphology of compacted polyethylene fibres. Journal of Materials Science 28, 1107–1112 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00400899

Download citation


  • Polymer
  • Microstructure
  • Mechanical Property
  • Polyethylene
  • Recrystallization