In situ synchrotron radiation X-ray diffraction studies on molecular aggregation structure of nylon 12 films during bulge testing†
It is desirable to establish a method for evaluating mechanical properties, such as modulus and strength, of micrometer and sub-micrometer thick polymer films. Bulge tests, where bulge deformation is imposed on films by the pressure of an inert gas, are suitable for satisfying this demand. However, very few studies on polymer films exist in the literature. In this study, bulge testing equipment for in situ synchrotron radiation wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) measurements is designed and used to study the relationship between the molecular aggregation structure and the mechanical properties of a crystalline nylon 12 (Ny12) film during bulge testing. Isothermally crystallized and quenched Ny12 films exhibited stress–strain curves similar to those obtained by conventional uniaxial elongation. In situ WAXD measurements during bulge testing revealed that the lattice extension of the crystallites is clearly dependent on crystallinity. Concretely, crystallites in the isothermally crystallized film show higher elastic properties than those in the quenched one. The results of the molecular aggregation structure, including the crystal structure and the amorphous chain surrounding the crystallites, of the films during bulge deformation firstly obtained in this study must be useful for designing toughened polymer films.