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Applications of Ultraviolet Microscopy to Polymers

  • N. C. Billingham
  • P. D. Calvert

Summary

Optical microscopy using ultraviolet (UV) light can be applied to any sample in which features of interest are, or can be made to be, UV absorbing or fluorescent. The use of UV microscopy in non-polymer applications is briefly reviewed and the optical requirements for the technique are described. Quantitative analysis of experimental data can increase the utility of the method and the appropriate methods are discussed.

A number of applications of the UV microscope to studies of polymers is discussed and illustrated, viz: 1. studies of the rejection of UV absorbing additives by the growing spherulites, during melt crystallisation, which allows determination of the diffusion coefficients of the additives; 2. measurements of the diffusion rates of additives into solid polymers by microscopy of thin sections, using UV absorbing penetrants; 3. studies of the morphology of polymers by using the fact that UV absorbing additives are concentrated in the amorphous phase of the polymer and can be used to reveal its distribution; 4. studies of the mixing and interpenetration of polymers, made possible by covalent bonding of fluorescent centres to one polymer; 5. studies of the distribution of oxidative degradation in polymers by reaction of oxidation products with reagents which produce UV absorption. The latter work has lead to the direct observation of the catalytic role of residues from the polymerisation process in polypropylene oxidation.

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Copyright information

© Applied Science Publishers Ltd 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. C. Billingham
    • 1
  • P. D. Calvert
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Molecular SciencesUniversity of SussexBrightonUK

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