Three notable young polymer scientists were awarded the 2018 Polymer Crystallization poster prize at the September Polymer Crystallization Workshop in Genova, Italy.
It is possible to distinguish between crystal-mobile and crystal-fixed semi-crystalline polymers by examining the presence or absence of an αc-relaxation. First place winner Martha Schulz (Institute of Physics, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg) focuses on Polyoxymethylene (POM) to follow changes in situ caused in αc-relaxation. POM is a polymer with intermediate crystalline dynamics that was studied to fill the gap between polymers with fast intra-crystalline dynamics and those with no intra-crystalline dynamics. Small-angle X-ray scattering measurements show different morphology depending on the crystallization time, and the thermal stability of the crystalline lamellae also depend on the crystallization time.
The polymer polyethylene (PE) is produced in large amounts and is primarily used in packaging. It has multiple forms and thus properties, and the phase behavior of PE blends can be extremely complex. Second place winner Charlotte Notebaert (Polymer Chemistry and Materials, KU Leuven) investigates whether liquid-liquid phase separation and memory effects are coupled for three PE blends. The crystallization memory effects and liquid-liquid phase separation seem not to be coupled for the three component blends studied.
Ethylene-propylene-diene (EPD) random terpolymers are the basic material of many commercial rubbers. Third prize winner Miriam Scoti (Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Università di Napoli Federico II) studies the influence of crystallinity presence in the undeformed state and the stress-induced crystallization on the mechanical properties and elastic behavior of these terpolymers. The concentration of the different units influences the crystallization behavior of the terpolymers. This crystallization is important for understanding the mechanical properties of the rubbers made from these EPD random terpolymers.
Congratulations again to Martha, Charlotte, and Miriam!