Morphology of extruded high-density polyethylene pipes studied by atomic force microscopy

D. Trifonova, Philippe Drouillon, Antoine Ghanem, Gyula J. Vancso

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Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study the structure of extruded polyethylene (PE) pipe. During extrusion, the outer surface of the pipe was cooled with water. Two cross sections, parallel and transverse to the extrusion direction, were examined in order to spatially follow the structural development during extrusion. The morphology revealed was spherulitic, and the spherulites had a mostly banded appearance when viewed under the AFM. We were not able to distinguish an oriented skin layer at the surface of the pipe, either by AFM or polarizing microscopy. The changes in the pipe's structure resulting from the cooling conditions were found to be rather gradual, and no clearly defined zones were observed. A slight orientation towards the extrusion direction was detected only in the area of the pipe crystallized under the lowest degree of undercooling. Measured spherulitic size, band period, and lamellae thickness showed a gradual increase in their values from the cooled to the noncooled surface of the pipe. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to verify the band period and lamellae thickness measurements done by AFM.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)515-523
JournalJournal of applied polymer science
Issue number66
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • IR-71422
  • METIS-105735
  • Morphology
  • Atomic Force Microscopy
  • Banded spherulites
  • pipe extrusion
  • Poly(ethylene)

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