(595f) Solvent Vapor Annealing to Control Polymer Crystal Morphology

Albert, J. N. L., Chemical and Biomole
Bliesner, S., Tulane University
Degree of crystallinity, crystal morphology, and crystallite size affect many physical properties of semi-crystalline polyesters, including mechanical strength, optical clarity, and biodegradability. Inspired by the literature related to solvent vapor annealing (SVA) in block copolymer films and solvent-induced crystallization in semi-crystalline polymers, we are studying how SVA treatments impact crystal morphology. Using poly(ε-caprolactone) as a model polymer for our studies, we have conducted in-situ grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering experiments to determine when/if polymer crystals dissolve during solvent uptake and at what solvent concentrations recrystallization occurs during solvent removal. Additionally, we have examined polymer morphology across multiple length scales using a combination of optical microscopy, profilometry, and atomic force microscopy.