Abstract

In the present study, the orientation of a poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB)/poly(&epsi;-caprolactone) (PCL) blend was monitored during uniaxial elongation by rheo-optical Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and analyzed by generalized two-dimensional correlation spectroscopy (2D-COS). The dichroism of the &delta;(CH<sub>2</sub>) absorption bands of PHB and PCL was employed to determine the polymer chain orientation in the PHB/PCL blend during the elongation up to 267% strain. From the PHB and PCL specific orientation functions it was derived that the PCL chains orient into the drawing direction while the PHB chains orient predominantly perpendicular to the applied strain. To extract more detailed information about the polymer orientation during uniaxial elongation, 2D-COS analysis was employed for the dichroic difference of the polarization spectra recorded during the drawing process. In the corresponding synchronous and asynchronous 2D correlation plots, absorption bands characteristic of the crystalline and amorphous regions of PHB and PCL were separated. Furthermore, the 2D-COS analysis revealed that during the mechanical treatment the PCL domains orient before the PHB domains.

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