New Tools for Understanding Complex Polymer Behaviour

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Abstract

The process of manufacturing with polymers usually involves shaping in the melt followed by a transition to the solid to preserve that shape and provide the required mechanical properties. The development of an understanding of those transitions is critical to the optimisation of materials and manufacturing technology. For synthetic polymers there are three key length scales in any phase transition such as crystallisation: the first involves the thin (∼10 nm) lamellar crystals, the second is the crystal planes in the unit cell (∼1 nm) and the third the regular local chain conformation (∼0.1 nm). We are using the extended Q range available with NIMROD at the ISIS Facility in the UK to obtain neutron scattering data which follows the transformation pathways of these three length scales simultaneously. We are using computational modelling procedures to analyse these data to develop a firm understanding of the multiscale processes involved in crystallisation. This paper describes the methodology and some of the experimental challenges using data drawn from this study. This work is part of the FCT funded programme UC4EP.

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Mitchell, G. R., Maetus, A., Davis, F., Mohan, S., Gkourmpis, T., & Youngs, T. (2017). New Tools for Understanding Complex Polymer Behaviour. Procedia Manufacturing, 12, 280–290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2017.08.031

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