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Radiation-induced crosslinking: II. Effect on the crystalline and amorphous densities of polyethylene

Colloid & Polymer Science
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Small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) was used to determine the structural changes in polyethylene induced by radiation. The changes in densities of the crystalline and amorphous phases, ρ c and ρ a , were calculated after direct determination of the mean square density fluctuation <η 2 >. ρ a increases with increasing radiation dose for both linear and branched polyethylene. This accounts for the serious discrepancy between crystallinities determined from wide-angle x-ray scattering and density measurements. This study confirms our previous proposal that crosslinks occur primarily in the noncrystalline phase, most likely at the defects in the lateral grain boundary regions.

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