Effects of gamma irradiation on poly(ethylene isophthalate)
Radiation methods are largely used for polymerisation and polymer modification, since irradiation induces transformations in the structure of materials which can be exploited to improve their performance. On the other hand, combined action of ionising radiation and oxygen may lead to degradation of the polymer, with worsening of properties such as mechanical strength or electrical insulation resistance. Therefore, the change of the chemical and physical properties of polymers under irradiation is a dynamic topic of research. In this work there are discussed data on the physical features of a polyester, poly(ethylene isophthalate) (PEI), subjected to gamma irradiation up to 1 MGy. PEI is a semicrystalline polymer with a structure similar to polyethylene terephthalate. Viscosity and differential scanning calorimetry measurements were carried out which allowed the monitoring of changes in the structure in terms of variations in the molecular weight, as well as of the percentage crystallinity depending on the dose. Furthermore, positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy supplied information on the free volume present in the amorphous phase of the irradiated polymer.
KeywordsGamma irradiation Poly(ethylene isophthalate) Polyester Viscometry Differential scanning calorimetry Positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy
The authors are grateful to Mr. Fabio Pregnolato for his precious support at the Gammatom Irradiation Facility. The authors are also grateful to Mr. Mirko Da Ros and Mr. Marco Giola for their support to the experimental activity.
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