Lamellar melting, not crystal motion, results in softening of polyoxymethylene on heating

TitleLamellar melting, not crystal motion, results in softening of polyoxymethylene on heating
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsKumaraswamy, G, Surve, NS, Mathew, R, Rana, A, Jha, SK, Bulakh, NN, Nisal, A, Ajithkumar, TG, Rajamohanan, PR, Ratnagiri, R
Date PublishedAUG

We probe temperature-dependent changes in the semicrystalline microstructure of polyoxymethylene using a combination of modulated DSC, SAXS, and solid-state NMR to characterize macroscopic behavior, lamellar-level structure, and molecular environments, respectively, and correlate these with the change in mechanical properties probed using DMA and AFM. Two model samples are investigated: a melt crystallized sample prepared by injection molding and a sample obtained by crystallization from dilute solution. Our investigations reveal that, for both samples, there is an increase in crystalline motions and in the amorphous content on heating. DMA and AFM measurements reveal that the modulus of the molded sample decreases on heating to about 100 degrees C; however, there is a significant difference in behavior of the solution crystals, where we observe no significant decrease in stiffness (from AFM measurements). Thus, in contrast to previous reports, we demonstrate that the decrease in modulus on heating polyoxymethylene does not correlate with chain motions in the crystalline regions. We use SAXS to probe the semicrystalline morphology for the samples on heating and show that, for the molded sample, there is a distribution of lamellar thickness at room temperature and that the thin lamellae in this distribution melt on heating. In contrast to the behavior of the melt crystallized samples, the solution crystals exhibit no change in the lamellar stacking on heating to 150 degrees C. We also demonstrate that, on heating, the amorphous regions in the solution crystals always appear to have restricted mobility while there are mobile and low mobility amorphous regions in the molded samples. Our results suggest that, contrary to conventional belief, the decrease in modulus on heating polyoxymethylene arises not from motions in the crystalline lamellae but primarily from melting of thin lamellae.

Funding Agency

Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) - India

Type of Journal (Indian or Foreign)


Impact Factor (IF)


Divison category: 
Central NMR Facility
Physical and Materials Chemistry
Polymer Science & Engineering