Crystal Melting and its Kinetics on Poly(ethylene oxide) by In Situ Atomic Force Microscopy

L.G.M. Beekmans, D.W. van der Meer, G.J. Vancso

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The process of melting in poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) is followed in real-time at elevated temperatures by atomic force microscopy (AFM) using a simple hot stage apparatus. AFM imaging of the morphology above the onset of melting revealed the dynamics of a complex melting process. The observed melting behavior of PEO is associated with the existence of separate dominant and subsidiary morphological entities. The morphological observations revealed that the melting process is not explained by a mechanism of crystal reorganization (melting–recrystallization–remelting or crystal thickening. The kinetic data shows that the crystal dimensions decrease proportional to time indicating a nucleation controlled melting process. The crystals melt instantaneously on heating and reveal a spread in the rates of melting of the radial {120} faces. This variation in rate of retrogression of the crystals is assumed to be related to a lamellar thickness distribution of the melt grown crystals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1895
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Poly(ethylene oxide)
  • Melting kinetics
  • In situ atomic force microscopy


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