Image icon  Formation of a spherulite

Use this resource: Use this resource icon
Link to this page:
View at:        
Resource type: Image
Description: This is a schematic image showing (a) stages in the formation of a spherulite from a stack of lamellae; (b) a polarised-light micrograph of spherulites in poly(ethylene oxide) demonstrating typical impingement. A spherulite can grow from a single crystal nucleus; and the growth occurs when chains continue the folding action and crystal defects lead to lamellar twisting and branching. Fibrillar structures are thus formed which successively twist round to form a 'wheatsheaf'. Continued growth ultimately yields a spherulite which then grows uniformly as a sphere. For high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and nylon 6,6, nucleation and growth are very rapid, radial growth rate for HDPE is about 5000 μm min-1), so that spherulite impingement is the norm.
Keywords: morphology • spherulite • single crystal • crystalline • structure • PE • polyethylene • lamellae • crystal defects • growth rate • microscopy • image
Categories: Science approaches > Structure, bonding & defects > Crystal structure
Science approaches > Microstructure
Materials > Polymers & elastomers
Materials > Polymers & elastomers > Plastics
Materials > Polymers & elastomers > Plastics > Thermoplastics > Polyethylene (PE)
Testing, analysis & experimentation > Microscopy
Created by: C Hall
The Open University
Published by: The Open University
License: This resource is released under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license (2.0 UK: England & Wales).
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike logo
You are free:
  • to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to remix – to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
  • attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • noncommercial – You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
View the full legal code here.
Date created: 27 January 1981
Date added: 14 December 2010
Resource ID: 3295