This article reviews possible mechanisms of various crack forms and their likely correlations with interior crystal lamellae and discontinuous interfaces in spherulites. Complex yet periodically repetitive patterns of cracks in spherulites are beyond attributions via differences in thermal expansion coefficients, which would cause random and irregular cracks in the contract direction only. Cracks in brittle polymers such as poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA), or poly(4-hydroxyl butyrate) (PHB), or more ductile polymers such as poly(trimethylene terephthalate) (PTT) are examined and illustrated, although for focus and demonstration, more discussions are spent on PLLA. The cracks can take many shapes that bear extremely striking similarity to the ring-band or lamellar patterns in the same spherulites. Crack patterns may differ significantly between the ring-banded and ringless spherulites, suggesting that the cracks may be partially shaped and governed by interfaces of lamellae and how the lamellar crystals assemble themselves in spherulites. Similarly, with some exceptions, most of the cracks patterns in PHB or PTT are also highly guided by the lamellar assembly in either ring-banded spherulites or ringless spherulites. Some exceptions of cracks in spherulites deviating from the apparent crystal birefringence patterns do exist nevertheless, discontinuous interfaces in the initial lamellae neat the nuclei center might be hidden by top crystal over-layers of the spherulites, which might govern crack propagation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics