Surface nucleation in the crystallisation of polyethylene droplets
Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Accepted: 30 November 2010
Published online: 12 January 2011
The division of semi-crystalline polymeric material into small domains is an effective tool for studying crystal nucleation. The scaling behavior of the nucleation rate as a function of domain size can reveal important information about the mechanism responsible for the birth of a crystal nucleus. We have investigated the process of crystal nucleation in a system of dewetted polyethylene droplets. Through the use of a correlation sample analysis, we are able to differentiate between heterogeneous and homogeneous nucleation mechanisms in a droplet sample. An analysis of the dependence of the nucleation rate on droplet size reveals that the nucleation probability scales with the surface area of the droplet.
© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2011