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Nascent particle sizes and degrees of entanglement are responsible for the significant differences in impact strength of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene

Huan Zhang, Shicheng Zhao, Xin Yu, Zhong Xin, Chunlin Ye, Zhi Li, Jincheng Xia
Journal of polymer science 2019 v.57 no.10 pp. 632-641
Raman spectroscopy, crystal structure, differential scanning calorimetry, impact strength, industrial applications, molecular weight, particle size, polyethylene, rheological properties, rheometers, scanning electron microscopy, thermal properties
The physical properties of ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) are generally highly dependent on its molecular weight. However, in our study, it was found that two UHMWPE samples of similar molecular weight, SLL‐5 and GUR 4150, have significantly different impact strengths, with the Charpy impact strength of GUR 4150 being almost 3.4 times that of SLL‐5. To reveal the reasons, the structure–property relations of these UHMWPE materials were investigated. Morphologies of the nascent particles and impact fracture surfaces, the melting behavior, rheological behavior, and three‐phase (crystalline, amorphous, and interphase) contents were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, advanced rotary rheometer, and Raman spectroscopy, respectively. It was observed that no significant differences in the crystal structures of SLL‐5 and GUR 4150, but GUR 4150 had smaller nascent particles sizes and a lower degree of entanglement when compared with those of SLL‐5. Accordingly, a mechanism to clarify the significant difference in the impact strengths of GUR 4150 and SLL‐5 was developed. More importantly, this work may be useful for improving the preparation technologies and industrial applications of UHMWPE. © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2019, 57, 632–641