Microstructural Evolution of Poly(ε-Caprolactone), Its Immiscible Blend, and In Situ Generated Nanocomposites

Iurii Vozniak, Ramin Hosseinnezhad, Jerzy Morawiec, Andrzej Galeski
2020 Polymers  
Polymer–polymer systems with special phase morphology were prepared, leading to an exceptional combination of strength, modulus, and ductility. Two immiscible polymers: poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) were used as components for manufacturing a nanoblend and a nanocomposite characterized by nanodroplet-matrix and nanofibril-matrix morphologies, respectively. Nanofibrils were formed by high shear of nanodroplets at sufficiently low temperature to stabilize their
more » ... r shape by shear-induced crystallization. The effects of nanodroplet vs. nanofiber morphology on the tensile mechanical behavior of the nanocomposites were elucidated with the help of in situ 2D small-angle X-ray scattering, microcalorimetry and 2D wide-angle X-ray diffraction. For neat PCL and a PCL/PHA blend, the evolution of the structure under uniaxial tension was accompanied by extensive fragmentation of crystalline lamellae with the onset at strain e = 0.1. Limited lamellae fragmentation in the PCL/PHA composite occurred continuously over a wide range of deformations (e = 0.1–1.1) and facilitated plastic flow of the composite and was associated with the presence of a PHA nanofiber network that transferred local stress to the PCL lamellae, enforcing their local deformation. The PHA nanofibers acted as crystallization nuclei for PCL during their strain-induced melting–recrystallization.
doi:10.3390/polym12112587 pmid:33158123 fatcat:yip2dlejujdxpgegi3qgz5nwd4