Image icon  Formation of a spherulite

 
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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: The Open University
C Hall
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).
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Date created: 27 January 1981
Date added: 14 December 2010
Package:
Resource ID: 3295