Crystallization and dissolution of flow-induced precursors

Luigi Balzano, Nileshkumar Kukalyekar, Sanjay Rastogi, Gerrit W.M. Peters, John C. Chadwick

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We make use of a specially synthesized linear high density polyethylene with a bimodal molecular weight distribution (MWD) to demonstrate that it is possible to produce a suspension of extended-chain (shish) crystals only. Such a suspension can be generated at high temperatures, above but close to the equilibrium melting temperature of the unconstrained extended-chain crystals (Tm0=141.2°C) and requires stretch of the longest chains of the MWD. After the application of a shear flow of 120s-1 for 1 s at 142°C, x-ray scattering suggests the presence of a large number of metastable needlelike precursors with limited or no crystallinity. Precursors that are too small dissolve on a timescale that correlates perfectly with the reptation time of the longest polymer molecules. Whereas, precursors that exceed a critical size crystallize forming extended-chain shishes. © 2008 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

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