Abstract

The present study attempts an application of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy in conjunction with multivariate curve resolution (MCR) techniques to explore the structural evolution of isotactic polystyrene (iPS) during the cold crystallization process. The focus of the present study is placed on the performance of MCR techniques, e.g., orthogonal projection (OP), alternating least squares (ALS), and fixed-size moving window evolving factor analysis (FSMWEFA), and the interpretability of spectral changes in the investigated chemical process. As a result, valuable information and conclusions about the structural evolution of iPS during the crystallization process can be extracted: when the amorphous phase of iPS changes, the ordering of the phenyl rings takes place first, and then the polymer chains adjust their local conformations to form short 3<sub>1</sub> helix structures. Furthermore, according to intensity profiles of the spectral variations, the ordering of the phenyl rings proceeds more intensely than the formation of ordered local chains, and the structural evolution of iPS occurs even during the induction period. The spectral variations resulting from the conformational changes in the 3<sub>1</sub> helical structures depend on the sequence length of the helical chains: the longer the polymer chain is, the smaller the corresponding band variations are. It has been demonstrated that the combination of FTIR spectroscopy and chemometric MCR techniques is very promising for the analysis of the crystallization process of polymers. MCR is a powerful tool for analyzing and visualizing spectral data and integrating them with other information, making spectral intensity variations more amenable to interpretation in order to explore the molecular dynamics of polymers.

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