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The European Physical Journal E

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 365–373 | Cite as

The role of the amorphous phase in the re-crystallization process of cold-crystallized poly(ethylene terephthalate)

  • M. Pieruccini
  • A. Flores
  • U. Nöchel
  • G. Di Marco
  • N. Stribeck
  • F. J. Baltá Calleja
Regular Article

Abstract

The process of re-crystallization in poly(ethylene terephthalate) is studied by means of X-ray diffraction (SAXS and WAXS) and dynamical mechanical thermal analysis. Samples cold-crystallized for 9h at the temperatures T c = 100 fcir#circ;C and T c = 160 fcir#circ;C, i.e. in the middle of the \( \alpha\) relaxation region and close to its upper bound, respectively, are analyzed. During heating from room temperature, a structural rearrangement of the stacks is always found at T rT c + 20 fcir#circ;C. This process is characterized by a decrease of the linear crystallinity, irrespective of Tc; on the other hand, the WAXS crystallinity never increases with T below Tc+30fcir#circ;C. The lamellar thickness in the low-Tc sample decreases significantly after the structural transition, whereas in the high-Tc sample the lamellar thickness remains almost unchanged. In both, high- and low-Tc, the interlamellar thickness increases above Tr. Moreover, the high-Tc sample shows a lower rate of decrease of the mechanical performance with increasing T as the threshold Tr is crossed. This result is interpreted in terms of the formation of rigid amorphous domains where the chains are partially oriented. The presence of these domains would determine i) the stabilization of the crystalline lamellae from the thermodynamic point of view and ii) the increase of the elastic modulus of the amorphous interlamellar regions. This idea is discussed by resorting to a phase diagram. An estimation of the chemical-potential increase of the interlamellar amorphous regions, due to the enhancement of the structural constraints hindering segmental mobility, is offered. Finally, previous calculations developed within the framework of the Gaussian chain model (F.J. Baltá Calleja et al., Phys. Rev. B 75, 224201 (2007)) are used here to estimate the degree of chain orientation induced by the structural transition of the stacks.

PACS

61.41.+e Polymers, elastomers, and plastics 61.05.cp X-ray diffraction 64.70.Nd Structural transitions in nanoscale materials 

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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Pieruccini
    • 1
  • A. Flores
    • 2
  • U. Nöchel
    • 3
  • G. Di Marco
    • 1
  • N. Stribeck
    • 3
  • F. J. Baltá Calleja
    • 2
  1. 1.CNRIstituto per i Processi Chimico-Fisici, Salita Sperone Contrada PapardoMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Instituto de Estructura de la Materia, CSICMadridSpain
  3. 3.Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare ChemieUniversität HamburgHamburgGermany

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