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Jones, Stephen M.
Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Biaxially oriented films produced from semi-crystalline, semi-aromatic polyesters are utilised extensively as components within various applications, including the specialist packaging, flexible electronic and photovoltaic markets. However, the thermal performance of such polyesters, specifically poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and poly(ethylene-2,6-naphthalate) (PEN), is inadequate for several applications that require greater dimensional stability at higher operating temperatures. The work described in this project is therefore primarily focussed upon the copolymerisation of rigid comonomers with PET and PEN, in order to produce novel polyester-based materials that exhibit superior thermomechanical performance, with retention of crystallinity, to achieve biaxial orientation.\ud Rigid biphenyldiimide comonomers were readily incorporated into PEN and poly(butylene-2,6-naphthalate) (PBN) via a melt-polycondensation route. For each copoly(ester-imide) series, retention of semi-crystalline behaviour is observed throughout entire copolymer composition ratios. This phenomenon may be rationalised by cocrystallisation between isomorphic biphenyldiimide and naphthalenedicarboxylate residues, which enables statistically random copolymers to melt-crystallise despite high proportions of imide sub-units being present. In terms of thermal performance, the glass transition temperature, Tg, linearly increases with imide comonomer content for both series. This facilitated the production of several high performance PEN-based biaxially oriented films, which displayed analogous drawing, barrier and optical properties to PEN. Selected PBN copoly(ester-imide)s also possess the ability to either melt-crystallise, or form a mesophase from the isotropic state depending on the applied cooling rate.\ud An equivalent synthetic approach based upon isomorphic comonomer crystallisation was subsequently applied to PET by copolymerisation with rigid diimide and Kevlar®-type amide comonomers, to afford several novel high performance PET-based copoly(ester-imide)s and copoly(ester-amide)s that all exhibited increased Tgs. Retention of crystallinity was achieved in these copolymers by either melt-crystallisation or thermal annealing. The initial production of a semi-crystalline, PET-based biaxially oriented film with a Tg in excess of 100 °C was successful, and this material has obvious scope for further industrial scale-up and process development.
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