Macromolecules, Vol.47, No.6, 2072-2079, 2014
In-Situ Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for the Time-Resolved Investigation of Crystallization Processes in Polymers
By application of optical coherence tomography (OCT), an interferometric noncontact imaging technique, the crystallization of a supercooled poly(propylene) melt in a slit die is monitored. Both the quiescent and the sheared melt are investigated, with a focus on experiments where solidification and flow occur simultaneously. OCT is found to be an excellent tool for that purpose since the resultant structures are strongly scattering, which is a prerequisite for application of that method. The resulting images enable for the first time to directly monitor structure development throughout the whole experiment, including final cooling to room temperature. By rendering the setup polarization-sensitive, information on the birefringence of the pertinent structures is obtained.