Flow-induced crystallisation of polymers

Flow-induced crystallization is a crucial issue for many applications with semi-crystalline polymers since flow, an unavoidable processing factor, can form oriented crystalline structures (e.g., shish-kebab) and consequently affects the final product properties. The current challenge in understanding the flow-induced crystallization is the difficulty to obtain detailed and quantitative information of crystallization behavior under conditions close to realistic processing conditions, e.g., high shear rate/stress, high pressures and high cooling rates.

In this project, we combined a slit rheometer with synchrotron radiation X-ray including two fast detectors (Pilatus and Frelon) to track the crystallization affected by strong flows.

In this way, the entire crystallization evolution was monitored, from startup of flow to completion of solidification, including rheological response during flow, shish formation time, orientation, parent/daughter lamellae, polymorphism, etc. These quantitative results also provide valuable data for the validation and modification of flow-induced crystallization model.

Project researcher: Dr. Zhe Ma
Project supervisor: Prof. dr. ir. Gerrit Peters
Financing: Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI)