Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics, Vol.43, No.21, 3019-3029, 2005
Modification of microstructures and physical properties of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene by electron beam irradiation
An ultra high molecular weight polyethylene was irradiated with the electron beam at dose levels ranging from 100 kGY to 1 MGy. The microstructures of the irradiated samples were characterized by FTIR, gel fraction measurement, DSC, and small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering. For the mechanical properties, a static tensile test and creep experiment were also performed. The crosslinking and the crystal morphology changes were the main microstructural changes to influence the mechanical properties. It was found that 250 kGy appeared to be the optimal dose level to induce crosslinks in the amorphous area and recrystalliztion in the crystal lamellae. At doses above 250 kGy, the electron beam penetrates into the crystal domains, resulting in crosslinks in the crystal domains and reduction in the crystal size and crystallinity. The static mechanical properties (modulus, strength) and the creep resistance were enhanced by the electron beam irradiation. The stiffness rather correlated with the degree of crosslinks while the strength with the crystal morphology. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Keywords:electron beam irradiation;mechanical property;microstructure;ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)