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In this paper we investigate the effect on melting stability of blending linear with branched polyethylene. Linear polyethylene (LPE) was blended in solution with branched polyethylene (BPE) at a concentration of 10% LPE. Both homopolymers and the blend were held at 126°C, for 80 h. At this temperature solid-liquid phase separation takes place in pure LPE and in the blend; pure BPE remains molten. The melting point of the isothermally crystallized blend lamellae was lower than the melting point of pure LPE lamellae crystallized under the same conditions. This depression in melting temperature has previously been explained in two ways: by the inclusion of BPE into the LPE crystals, and because of the different environment of the crystals. We assess these two factors and find them insufficient to explain the decrease in melting temperature observed. We discuss another important factor, the dimension of the crystals in the chain direction. By transmission electron microscopy we show that crystals isothermally grown in the blend are thinner than LPE crystals grown under the same conditions. This difference in crystal thickness is sufficient to explain the observed depression in melting temperature. We believe that the lamellae in the blend fail to thicken during the initial stages of crystallization. We envisage three mechanisms that explain the suppression of thickening present in the blend, and one of these is eliminated.

Посилання на статтю:

Absence of isothermal thickening for a blend of linear and branched polyethylene / C. C. Puig*, M. J. Hill and J. A. Odell // Polymer. – 1993. – Vol 34. – P. 3402-3407.

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