Polymer, Vol.35, No.4, 729-733, 1994
Cross-Linking of Polyethylene Fibers Using Trans-1,4-Polybutadiene as a Macromolecular Prorad
A new route for the production of high modulus and strength, crosslinked ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) structures was explored. trans-1,4-Polybutadiene (t-1,4-PB) is added to UHMW-PE, prior to dissolution and ultra-drawing, to enhance the crosslinking efficiency of drawn tapes upon electron-beam irradiation. It was found that undrawn solution-cast films exhibit a two-phase structure consisting of a continuous UHMW-PE phase and dispersed t-1,4-PB domains. Upon drawing, the t-1,4-PB phase is deformed to elongated domains with a width of a few nanometres, and both the UHMW-PE and t-1,4-PB phase are highly oriented. The addition of t-1,4-PB indeed enhances the crosslinking efficiency of drawn, oriented UHMW-PE tapes. Tapes with a high gel fraction (>95%) and improved high-temperature resistance could be produced.