Elucidating Structure-Property-Processing Relationships with On-Line Raman
Publication Date: 2003-Mar-12
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Synthetic polymer development is becoming increasingly more sophisticated with improved modeling, highly specific catalysts, enhanced processing and materials blending to name a few. These advancements in polymer design commensurately require highly selective measurements on the molecular level to obtain correlation between polymer structure, processing variables and end-use properties. Coupling the powerful fundamental attributes of Raman spectroscopy with on-line sampling flexibility is invaluable in obtaining this type of structural information. A case study showing the utility of on-line Raman in the development of nylon 6 fibers will be presented. Nylons are often extruded into fibers and used in many fiber applications. Polycaprolactam, or nylon 6, is among the largest players in these applications. Physical and molecular structural analysis of nylon 6 is difficult because of its dynamic and polymorphic nature. Furthermore, the glass transition temperature of nylon 6 decreases significantly with moisture content which compromises the ability to draw process variable conclusions based upon off-line measurements. We have found the use of on-line Raman measurements to provide the precise and dynamic information necessary to optimize both process conditions and fiber properties. In this presentation the fundamentals of measuring relative crystallinity and orientation in nylon 6 by Raman spectrometry will be discussed. Off-line Raman measurements of relative polymer crystallinity and orientation will be compared to those made on-line. Finally, we will show correlation of Raman data with processing variables and polymer structure that are important in end-use properties of synthetic fibers.