Spherulite (polymer Physics) - Properties - Mechanical


Formation of spherulites affects many properties of the polymer material; in particular, crystallinity, density, tensile strength and Young's modulus of polymers increase during spherulization. This increase is due to the lamellae fraction within the spherulites, where the molecules are more densely packed than in the amorphous phase. Stronger intermolecular interaction within the lamellae accounts for increased hardness, but also for higher brittleness. On the other hand, the amorphous regions between the lamellae within the spherulites give the material certain elasticity and impact resistance.

Changes in mechanical properties of polymers upon formation of spherulites however strongly depend on the size and density of the spherulites. A representative example is shown in the figure demonstrating that the strain at failure rapidly decreases with the increase in the spherulite size and thus with the decrease in their number in isotactic polypropylene. Similar trends are observed for tensile strength, yield stress and toughness. Increase in the total volume of the spherulites results in their interaction as well as shrinkage of the polymer, which becomes brittle and easily cracks under load along the boundaries between the spherulites.

Read more about this topic:  Spherulite (polymer Physics), Properties

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