Combined Application of Imaging Methods for the Characterization of a Polymer Blend

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Morphological studies were performed on a polymer blend, used as a friction bearing, consisting of polyamide 6.6 (80%), poly-(tetrafluoroethylene) (18%), and silicone oil (2%). Raman imaging, FT-IR imaging, scanning electron microscopy with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry, and microthermal analysis determined the distribution of poly(tetrafluoroethylene) clusters in the polyamide matrix. Each characterization method allows qualitative identification of the main components and provides information about cluster size and distribution. It is proved that poly(tetrafluoroethylene) clusters of 10 to 30 μm are randomly distributed in a polyamide matrix and that silicone oil can be found at the cluster matrix interface. The good agreement that was obtained in our investigations indicates high reliability of the results since all applied methods are based on different chemical and physical properties. This combined approach revealed information about the morphology of the blend for a better understanding of its working principle and enhanced knowledge for its processing. A comparison of the different methods employed in this study highlights their advantages and limitations for polymer analyses.
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