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A Nucleation Mechanism Leading to Stacking of Lamellar Crystals in Polymer Thin Films

Sumit Majumder, Purushottam Poudel, Hui Zhang, Jun Xu, Günter Reiter. Polymer International 2019, DOI 10.1002/pi.5905

Systematic studies based on well‐controllable model systems aim at understanding how crystallization from a melt or solution of randomly coiled polymers leads to the formation of mono‐lamellar crystals. However, besides mono‐lamellar crystals also various other morphologically simple but yet not well understood structures are found. In particular, stacks of correlated lamellar crystals have been observed since the early days of polymer crystallization. Here, we demonstrate that a recently proposed mechanism of self‐induced nucleation within lamellar crystals provides a possibility to explain how in such stacks lamellar crystals can be correlated. Examining various polymer systems, we show that the probability for generating self‐induced nuclei depends on the morphology of an initiating dendritic basal lamellar crystal. In addition, we provide evidence that this self‐induced nucleation mechanism, together with a high rate of transport of molten polymer to the fold surface allows to form polymer crystals with similar size in all three dimensions, containing a large number of superposed correlated lamellae.

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