The infrared spectrum of polycaprolactone has been recorded as a function of temperature in the range where melting and crystallisation of the polymer can occur. Examination of the carbonyl band of the spectra reveals a clear morphological sensitivity; heating the semi-crystalline polymer through the melting region results in a decrease in the intensity of the crystalline component of the carbonyl band. Accordingly, there was a subsequent increase in intensity of the crystalline carbonyl band on cooling. To enable comparison of these findings with a more conventional method of thermal analysis, similar experiments were conducted using a differential scanning calorimeter. The heated ATR accessory adopted for use in the FTIR spectrometer imposed significant limitations in the range of possible heating and cooling rates, but when these rates were carefully matched between FTIR and DSC, close correlation between the melting point and onset of re-crystallisation was observed. The results confirm that FTIR can be used as an alternative, if more laborious, way of investigating melting and re-crystallisation.
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