Polymer and Materials Science
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
The structure of granular polytetrafluoroethylene has been studied by electron microscopy. On the basis of the texture of surfaces resulting from fracture a model of the structure is proposed which suggests that PTFE consists of extended chain crystals with both inter- and intra-lamellar noncrystalline regions. The effects of γ-radiation on the structure have been investigated by examining the texture of irradiated fracture surfaces and also the texture produced by post-irradiation fracture. The irradiations have been performed in vacuo and in oxygen. In both atmospheres PTFE undergoes degradation with a concurrent increase in crystallinity. However, the texture of the surfaces of high crystallinity PTFE, prepared by radiation, differs markedly to the texture of fracture surfaces of high crystallinity PTFE prepared by thermal annealing. It is proposed that radiation causes rupture of bonds in the interlamellar (chain fold) and intralamellar regions, resulting in the production of chain ends and interlamellar links. Due to scavenging of the free radicals, interlamellar linking is pobably a minor process with irradiation in oxygen. These chemical changes cause modifications to the extended chain lamellar crystals and consequently alterations to the physical properties of the polymer.
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