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An investigation into the crystalline morphology transitions in poly-L- lactic acid (PLLA) under uniaxial deformation in the quasi-solid-state regime

DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2018.01.031 DOI Help

Authors: Kharmen Billimoria (University of Warwick) , Ellen L. Heeley (Open University) , Nathan Parsons (University of Warwick) , Łukasz Figiel (University of Warwick)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: European Polymer Journal , VOL 101 , PAGES 127-139

State: Published (Approved)
Published: February 2018
Diamond Proposal Number(s): 16500

Abstract: The mechanical behaviour, crystalline and macromorphology structure development during uniaxially deformation and annealing of poly-L- lactic acid (PLLA), with varying strain rate and draw temperatures, (Td) above Tg, have been investigated using Small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), microscopy, thermal and mechanical techniques. The mechanical behaviour of PLLA, was strongly dependent on Td where embrittlement and eventual failure were observed as Td was increased, during uniaxial drawing of the amorphous polymer. This was mirrored in the bulk surface morphology where crazing, microvoiding and cavitation occurred with increasing Td. SAXS/WAXS data showed that strain-induced crystallization occurs on drawing, but crystallite orientation decreased with increasing Td, due to chain relaxation at temperatures ≥30 oC above Tg. However, no long-range oriented lamellar macromorphology was observed post-draw directly and only developed in the samples that were step annealed at temperatures above Td. Also, the disordered α’ crystal form was observed post-draw at Td between 60 – 80 oC, whereas Td ≥ 90 oC, resulted in the ordered α crystal form directly. However, on annealing at temperatures of ≥110 oC, the α’- α crystal transition ensued and in all samples, an oriented lamellar macromorphology developed. Therefore, Td and post-draw annealing, have a significant influence on the mechanical properties, crystallinity and crystalline phase transformation in PLLA, which in-turn, affects the polymers medical and industrial applications.

Journal Keywords: Poly-L- lactic acid; Uniaxial deformation; SAXS/WAXS; Crystalline morphology; Orientation

Subject Areas: Chemistry, Materials

Instruments: I22-Small angle scattering & Diffraction

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