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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.


Raghavendra R. Hegde, M. G. Kamath, Atul Dahiya


Properties of textile fibers are determined by their chemical structure degree of polymerization, orientation of
chain molecules, crystallinity, package density and cross linking between individual molecules. Polymer
crystallinity is one of the important properties of all polymers. Polymer exists both in crystalline and amorphous

Fig 1. Shows the arrangement of polymer chain forming crystalline and amorphous regions. [1]. It can be seen
that part of molecules are arranged in regular order, these regions are called crystalline regions. In between these
ordered regions molecules are arranged in random disorganized state and these are called amorphous regions.

Crystallinity is indication of amount of crystalline region in polymer with respect to amorphous content.

Crystallinity influences many of the polymer properties some of there are

· Hardness

· Modulus

· Tensile,

· Stiffness

· Crease

· Melting Point

So while selecting polymer for required Application its crystallinity plays foremost role.

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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.htm


When polymer is extruded through the spinneret, the molecules orient themselves in the direction of the extruded
melt. Polymer molecule orientation depends on many factors, some of them are,

Draw force

Screw speed

Melt temperature,

Stress force on melts

Number of spinneret holes

Fig 2 bellow shows the schematic diagram of development of PET fiber structure along the spin line. At the take
up point, the stress reaches a level of dyn by take up speed of 3000-4000 m min . As the polymer
melt comes out from molten disoriented state, its diameter decreases. With further reduction in diameter oriented
mesophase is formed. After mesophase neck like deformation is formed along spin line. After this neck like
deformation has been completed, the diameter does not reduces [3,4].

Fig.2 Schematic of Development of fiber structure in spin line at high temperature. [3,4]

As the fiber proceeds in spin line during the cooling molecules tend to curl and form ordered package. These
orderly packed regions are called crystalline regions and are held together by less ordered regions called
amorphous regions. This process of forming regularly ordered packing is called crystallization. The crystallization
takes place in between glass transition and melting state. Crystallization is always exothermic.


One of the methods to measure polymer crystallinity is Differential Scanning Calorimerty (DSC).DSC can be used
to determine amount of crystallinity in a polymer. Instrument is designed to measure amount of heat absorbed or
evolved from sample under isothermal conditions.DSC contains two pans, one reference pan that is empty and the
other pan has polymer sample. In this method polymer sample is heated with reference to a reference pan. Both

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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.htm

polymer and the reference pan are heated at same rate. The amount of extra heat absorbed by polymer sample is
with reference to reference material. Fig 3 shows DSC curve of a PET bottle sample.

Fig 3 DSC curve of a PET bottle sample


Heat flow = = . …(1)

The heat rate is given by Change in temperature for given time,

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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.htm

Heating rate= . …(2)

Dividing Equation (1) by (2) we get,

Heat capacity = = = Cp = heat capacity of the sample.

Big peak in the curve indicates crystallization temperature where polymer gives off huge heat to break hard
crystalline arrangement.

Next comes the melting point where polymer completely loses its orderly arrangement. Lets take this temp as Tm.
At this point polymer absorbs lot of heat; this is shown by huge dip in the curve.

Heat of melting of the polymer is measured by area of this immerse in curve. Temperature at the tip of this
immerse is Melting point Tm.


DSC evaluation can be used to measure amount of crystallinity in the sample.

Let heat of crystallization be , and total heat given off during melting be Ht,

H= - . …(3)

Where H is the heat given off by that part of polymer, which was already in crystalline state.

Now by dividing H by Hc (specific heat of melting)

Where Hc is amount of heat given off when 1gram of polymer is melted.

H/Hc = = Mc Grams…. (4)

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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.htm

This is total amount of polymer that was crystalline bellow , Crystallization temperature.

So Percentage of crystallinity in the polymer sample is

´ 100 = % of crystallinity in the sample.

Where Mt is total mass of sample taken.

So by DSC we can determine Crystallinity, glass transition temperature and Melting Point [2].


X-Ray diffraction is also used to measure the nature of polymer and extent of crystallinity present in the Polymer
sample. Fig 4 shows the schematic diagram of x-ray diffraction pattern. Crystalline regions in the polymer seated
in well-defined manner acts as diffraction grating .So the Emerging diffracted pattern shows alternate dark and
light bands on the screen. X-ray diffraction pattern of polymer contain both sharp as well as defused bands. Sharp
bands correspond to crystalline orderly regions and defused bands correspond to amorphous regions [1].

Fig 4. Schematic diagram of X-ray diffraction pattern [1]

Crystalline structure is regular arrangement of atoms. As per our discussion Polymer contains both crystalline and
amorphous phase within arranged randomly. When beam of X-ray passed through the polymer sample, some of
the regularly arranged atoms reflect the x-ray beam constructively and produce enhanced intense pattern. Fig. 5
shows schematic pattern of x-ray diffraction. Amorphous samples gives sharp arcs since the intensity of emerging
rays are more, where as for crystalline samples, the incident rays get scattered. Arc length of diffraction pattern
depends on orientation. If the sample is highly crystalline, smaller will be the arc length [3].

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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.htm

(a) (b)

Fig 5. X-ray diffraction pattern of (a) amorphous sample and (b) Semi crystalline polymer sample [1]


The crystallinity is calculated by separating intensities due to amorphous and crystalline phase on diffraction
phase. Computer aided curve resolving technique is used to separate crystalline and amorphous phases of
diffracted graph.

After separation, total area of the diffracted pattern is divided crystalline ( ) amorphous components ( ).

Percentage of crystallinity % is measured as ratio of crystalline area to Total area.

%={ + Ac} 100 (%)…. (5)


= Area of crystalline phase

= Area of amorphous phase

= Percentage of crystallinity

Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS), Infrared Spectroscopy, can also be used to measure crystallinity. [3]


1. V.R. Gowariker, N. V. Viswanathan, Jayadev Sreedhar “ Polymer Science” Published by New Age
International (P) Ltd., p, 173, 1986.

2. www.psrc.usm.edu

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Polymer crystallinity http://web.utk.edu/~mse/Textiles/Polymer%20Crystallinity.htm

3. V.B. Gupta and V.K. Kothari, “Manufactured Fiber Technology” Published by Chapman & Hall.p,

4. Shimizy, J., Okui, N. and Kikutani, T (1985) in High speed fiber spinning (eds A. Ziabicki and H.Kawai),
Wiley-Interscience, New York, p.295.

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