Polymorphism and crystal transition are of great significance for property mediation in polymer materials. Isotactic polypropylene (iPP) with β – crystal has been widely utilized for the preparation of high performance plastics or films. In the present work, the structural evolution of initially isotropic β – nucleated iPP (β – iPP) during uniaxial stretching at different temperatures was investigated by in–situ X – ray scattering using synchrotron radiation. The wide – angle X – ray scattering (WAXS) results confirmed that the β – crystal transformed either to the mesophase at lower temperature (30 °C) or to the α – crystal at higher temperature (60, 100 and 120 °C) during stretching. An interesting orientation of β – crystal with molecular chains perpendicular to the tensile direction was identified. As revealed by small – angle X – ray scattering (SAXS), cavitation took place in β – iPP stretched at temperatures lower than 120 °C. The size and shape of the cavities were observed by scanning electron microscope. A deformation mechanism of β – iPP combining the crystal transition, cavitation and orientation was proposed.

This paper was originally published in Polymer 55 (2014) Pages 6915 - 6923

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