The effect of proton irradiation on the melting and isothermal crystallization of poly (ether-ether-ketone)

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Amorphous poly(ether-ether-ketone) (PEEK) progressively crosslinks on irradiation with 11.0 MeV protons, and this has a marked effect on the extent of crystallinity that subsequently develops and on the kinetics of the high temperature isothermal crystallization. The extent of crystallinity with time was analyzed using the Avrami equation, and the temperature dependence of the rate constants was analyzed in terms of nucleation theory. While irradiation inhibits the overall rates of crystallization by the reduction in the mobility of the chain segments as observed by the progressive increase in the glass transition temperature, it also alters the fold surface free energy. The observed melting points were consistent with depression of the equilibrium melting point by the crosslinks produced by irradiation. These two effects alone are sufficient to account for the inhibition of crystallization on irradiation of PEEK by protons. (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1094-1103
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Polymer Science. Part B, Polymer Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • proton irradiation, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermodynamic melting point, irradiation nucleation control, crystallization, PEEK