Abstract

Synchrotron X-ray diffraction technique has revealed strain-induced crystallization and molecular orientation in vulcanized rubbers and thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) during deformation in real time. The stress-strain curves and wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) patterns in vulcanized rubbers and TPE were measured simultaneously. In-situ WAXD patterns were taken not only at different strains during uniaxial deformation but also at different temperatures at a constant strain. Results lead to several new insights. (i) Strain-induced crystallization is a common phenomenon in vulcanized rubbers, except SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber), and in TPE (with crystalline hard segments). (ii) Strain-induced crystallization decreases the stress and increases the elongation in the strained rubber. (iii) The hybrid structure of chemical networks and strain-induced crystallites is responsible to the tensile strength and elongation at break for both systems. (iiii) Some original crystal fraction (hard segment domain) in TPE is destroyed. During deformation, strain-induced crystallization increases with strain. Upon retraction even to stress zero, the majority of oriented strain-induced crystallites remains in tack with preferred orientation.

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