A study on the chain-particle interaction and aspect ratio of nanoparticles on structure development of a linear polymer

Nilesh Patil, Luigi Balzano, Giuseppe Portale, Sanjay Rastogi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The stability of metastable flow-induced precursor (FIPs) in the polymer melts in presence of nanoparticles, viz. single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) and zirconia nanoparticles, is studied at, 142 °C, close to the equilibrium melting point of unconstrained extended chain crystals of linear polyethylene (PE). The results conclusively demonstrate the influence of chain-particle interactions, between PE and the nanoparticles, on the stretch of the long chains. With the applied flow, SWCNTs together with PE chains are observed to align along the flow direction, giving rise a strong streak like pattern along the equator. At the initial stages, intensity of the observed streak in the presence of SWCNTs is stronger than that for the neat polyethylene. The streak intensity stabilizes with time, where the time required for the stabilization depends on the amount of the dispersed nanotubes in the polymer matrix. On the contrary, in the presence of zirconia nanoparticles, where the chain-particle interactions between PE and the nanoparticles are weak the initially observed streak tends to disappear with time, where the time required is strongly dependent on the concentration of the nanoparticles in the polymer matrix. Thus, compared to the neat polymer, the presence of zirconia nanoparticles destabilizes the shish formation. The chain orientation along the flow direction is determined using Herman's orientation function and the length of the oriented chains (shish) by Ruland's streak analysis. On cooling, with the crystallization of the polymer, scattering develops along the meridian, indicating the development of folded chain crystals, where the oriented chains present along the flow direction provide the epitaxy matching thus suppressing the nucleation barrier. The meridional intensity (arising with the formation of crystals, called kebabs) at room temperature, shows strong dependence on the stable streak intensity (chain orientation along the flow direction, called shish) along the equator prior to cooling. © 2010 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6749-6759
Number of pages11
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 24 2010
Externally publishedYes


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