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Nucleation‐controlled dual semicrystalline morphology of polyamide 11

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Crystallization of polyamide 11 at low supercooling of the melt proceeds via heterogeneous nucleation and spherulitic growth of lamellae, while at temperatures close to the glass transition homogeneous nucleation prevails, preventing spherulite formation and leading to formation of a large number of nanometer‐sized mesophase domains. It is shown that spherulitic and non‐spherulitic crystallization at low and high supercooling of the melt, respectively, can be enforced by tailoring the cooling conditions, causing a twofold semicrystalline morphology at ambient temperature. Analysis of non‐isothermal crystallization as a function of the cooling rate, using fast scanning chip calorimetry, reveals that in the case of polyamide 11 such twofold semicrystalline morphology is predicted when cooling at rates between about 20 and 200 K s−1, since then two separate crystallization events are observed. The prediction has been confirmed by preparation of films crystallized during ballistic cooling at different rates which then were analyzed regarding their structure using optical microscopy, X‐ray diffraction and calorimetry. The study is completed by discussion of implications of twofold non‐isothermal crystallization for structure evolution in polymer processing, as well as by providing information that such behavior is not only typical for polyamide 11 but also for isotactic polypropylene or poly(butylene terephthalate) as two further examples. © 2018 Society of Chemical Industry
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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