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J O U R N A L O F M A T E R I A L S S C I E N C E 10 (1975) 9 5 5 - 9 6 0

The cold drawing of amorphous
polyethylene terephthalate
d. S. FOOT, 1. M. W A R D
Department of Physics, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK

The cold drawing of amorphous polyethylene terephthalate has been studied at constant
strain rate over a wide range of temperatures for samples of different molecular weight and
different initial molecular orientation (pre-orientation). The natural draw ratio was found to
be dependent on pre-orientation, confirming previous studies, and for low degrees of
pre-orientation it also decreased with increasing molecular weight or decreasing
temperature of draw.
For all samples, there was an excellent correlation between the degree of molecular
alignment achieved, as determined by optical birefringence, and the draw ratio. The
birefringence of any sample could be accurately predicted from the draw ratio on the
basis of previously proposed theoretical models for the development of molecular

1. Introduction were used to investigate the general behaviour.
This investigation was stimulated partly by Fibre samples were used to investigate the effect
previous studies of the cold drawing of poly- of pre-orientation and the development of
ethylene terephthalate (PET) [1, 2] and partly by optical anisotropy on drawing.
more recent work on the effect of molecular In all cases, the intrinsic viscosity [-q] of the
weight and morphology on the drawing of linear polymer was determined in orthochlorphenol at
polyethylene [3-5]. From the spectacular effects 25~ The number average molecular weight,
which have been observed in the latter case, it llln, was then calculated from the Mark-
seemed interesting to examine whether any Houwink relationship [~] = K~rn~ with
similar phenomena are to be observed for the K = 1.7 x 10.4 and a = 0.83 as determined
so-called amorphous polymers. The present previously [7].
paper therefore describes a study of the drawing Extruded sheet of very low molecular orienta-
of amorphous PET over a wide range of temp- tion with intrinsic viscosity 0.60 was provided by
eratures at a constant strain rate. It will be I.C.I. Plastics Division, Welwyn Garden City.
shown that the natural draw ratio is sensitive to The dimensions of the sheet samples are shown
the initial polymer orientation (pre-orientation), in Fig. la.
to molecular weight and to temperature, but To make injection moulded samples, dried
that the effects observed are much smaller than polymer was forced through the hot barrel of
those observed in the case of linear polyethylene. the extruder. This melts the polymer which was
The development of molecular orientation then injected into a water cooled mould. To
during drawing has been monitored by making reduce hydrolytic degradation to a minimum, the
measurements of birefringence and the results polymer was dried by holding it at 120~ for
compared with theoretical expectations from 12 h in a vacuum oven. The dimensions of the
previous work [2, 6]. injected moulded dumb-bells are shown in Fig. lb.
All grades of polymer were supplied by I.C.I.
2. Experimental Corporate Laboratory Runcorn. The moulding
2.1. Preparation of samples conditions were chosen such that transparent
The behaviour of the polymer was studied in amorphous samples were obtained. To achieve
three forms; sheet, injection moulded dumb-bells this the mould had to be cold and the barrel
and fibres. Sheet and injection moulded samples temperature sufficiently high to completely melt
9 1975 Chapman and HallLtd. 955
J. S. F O O T , I. M. W A R D

TABLE I Sheet and injection moulded samples
i I
Sample Intrinsic Nra Birefringence
3.7 cm
preparation viscosity • 108

E elastic length
Injection 0.44 4- 0.02 12 000 ,~ 1
for sample moulding 0.33 4- 0.02 9 000 ,--1
0 of width 0.77 ~ 0.10 23 000 ,~ 1
0.88 4- 0.10 29 000 --~ 1
Extruded 0.60 16 000 0.5

fringence), were prepared at two levels of polymer
la} 0.8 cm molecular weight, by changing the rate at which
the fibres were wound on the bobbins, other
conditions being kept constant. Table II shows
Injection point the details of these fibres. It was also found
1.27 cm radius
desirable to obtain fibres of lower pre-orienta-
tions than those obtained directly. This was done

~ {

--~ 2.54 crn ~
by annealing the samples at 70~ for 12 h. In this
way the birefringence was reduced to about
5 x 10 -4.
(b) 2.2. Tensile tests
The samples were extended on an Instron
Figure I (a) Dimensions of sheet samples. (b) Dimensions
tensile testing machine at a constant cross-head
of injection moulded dumb-bells.
speed of 0.02 cm sec -1. An environmental
cabinet was used to control the temperature.
all the polymer. At the same time, the time and To determine the draw ratio, the deformation
temperature in the barrel were minimized to of a set of ink marks on the surface of the samples
reduce degradation of the polymer. There was was measured, using a travelling microscope. The
one exception to these conditions. To produce a neck was allowed to extend to about 80 % of the
very low molecular weight sample, the polymer gauge length. At this point the specimen was
of lowest initial molecular weight was injection instantly relaxed and allowed to recover at 20~
moulded without preliminary drying. This gave for at least 30 rain. The pattern of ink marks was
an injection moulded sample of intrinsic viscosity then remeasured, using only those marks well
~-~ 0.33. The intrinsic viscosities, molecular inside the cold drawn region. The natural draw
weights and birefringences of the sheet and the ratio was calculated from the ratio of the drawn
injection moulded dumbells are summarized in length to the undrawn length in the draw direc-
Table I. tion.
The fibres were prepared by the conventional
melt-spinning process in which molten polymer 2.3. Optical measurements
is extruded through a small circular hole in a The birefringences of the initial samples (the
metal plate, the fibres being wound on a bobbin pre-orientation birefringences) were measured
at a sufficient distance below the plate for the with an Ehringhaus Compensator used in a
polymer to have solidified. A number of samples Zeiss polarizing microscope. This method
of different birefringence (pre-orientation bire- cannot be used to measure large path differences

TABLE II Fibre samples
Wind-up speed (cm sec-1) Pre-orientation birefringence • 10a Fibre diameter ( x 10~ cm)
[~l = 0.50 [~l = 0.70
500 -- 1.5 4- 0.5 5.0
600 1.1 • 0.3 -- 5.0
1500 5 4- 1 6 4- 1 3.5
2500 10 • 1 11.5 4- 1.5 2.7


because of the difference in dispersion between Amorphous
the Calcite crystal in the compensator and PET. ~o o
The birefringences of the drawn fibres were, t moulded
Injection 12000 / A
therefore, measured with a Zeiss interference 5
23000[ [:]
microscope, determining the two refractive 29 0 0 0 9
indices parallel and perpendicular to the fibre , Sheet 16 0 0 0 *
axis, by use of immersion liquids. The refractive
indices could be determined in this way to
within =k 0.002, which is about the variation
along the length of the drawn fibre. All measure-
ments were carried out with a 5510 A green filter
and refer to this wavelength.

3. Results and discussion
3.1. The natural draw ratio of amorphous
The results obtained on the sheet and injection
moulded samples are shown in Fig. 2. Each result
is the average of three tests in which the draw
ratios differed at most by 0.1. Although these 2 I I l ~ f
results suffer from the limitation that there was -60 -30 0 30 60
Temperature ~
some variation in the pre-orientation of the
injection moulded samples, the pre-orientation Figure 2 Variation of natural draw ratio with tempera-
was always small (see Table I) and does not ture for samples of differentmolecularweight.
prevent two major conclusions from being
made. First, the natural draw ratio of PET
decreased as the temperature was reduced. This Temperature 114000 2250C
effect had not been observed in previous work [2] 60~ 9 0
over a smaller temperature range, and shows that 20~ 9 o
the polymer strain hardens more rapidly at low 5- O~ *
-30~ A z~
temperatures. On the view that the natural -60~ D
draw ratio represents the ultimate extensibility of
a network, this result suggests that thermal
motions at high temperatures may reduce the
number of effective entanglements.
Secondly, Fig. 2 also shows that the draw ratio
is systematically reduced with increasing mol-
ecular weight. Previous birefringence/shrinkage
studies of PET [8] showed that the polymer could
be considered as a rubber network at tempera-
tures above the glass transition. Moreover, the
number of chains per unit volume increased
markedly with increasing polymer molecular
weight, the number of monomers per chain
decreasing correspondingly. The effect of mol- L L
ecular weight observed was greater than that 0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Pre-orientation birefringence x10 3
predicted by Flory's correction [9] which takes
into account the non-contribution of the ends of Figure 3 Effect of pre-orientation on natural draw ratio for
the polymer molecules to the network. We fibre samples.
therefore conclude that both decreasing tem-
perature and increasing molecular weight act in These conclusions are confirmed by the
the same direction to increase the number of results obtained for the fibre samples, which are
effective entanglements and hence reduce the summarized in Fig. 3, where the natural draw
natural draw ratio. ratio is plotted as a function of the pre-orienta-
J. S. F O O T , I. M. W A R D

tion birefringence for two molecular weights over symmetry axis and P2, the polarizability in the
a range of temperatures. The results now show plane perpendicular to this axis. In the cold
the additional effect of pre-orientation bire- drawing of an isotropic fibre, it is assumed that
fringence, which was previously established [1,2] the symmetry axes of the units undergo the same
by studies on polymers of normal molecular changes in direction as lines connecting pairs of
weight of about 1.8 x 104. The influence of points in a body undergoing uniaxial deforma-
pre-orientation has been interpreted on the tion at constant volume. This type of deforma-
basis that the natural draw ratio represents the tion has been called pseudo-affine [12] to
stretching of a network to a total limiting distinguish it from the affine deformation scheme
extension, which is independent of the division of of rubber elasticity [13]. The aggregate model
extension between the extrusion and drawing gives the birefringence An of the partially
processes [2, 10]. Comparing Figs. 2 and 3, it can oriented fibre as
be concluded that the effect of molecular weight An = 89 cos20 - !) (1)
on the natural draw ratio was of the same order
of magnitude for both injection moulded and where Anmax is the maximum birefringence
fibre samples. For example, extrapolating a observed in the partially oriented fibre and
natural draw ratio for isotropic material from cos20 is the average value of cos20 for the aggre-
Fig. 3, at 20~ for/Qn = 14 000, the natural gate, where 0 is the angle between the axis of a
draw ratio was 4.2, while for h'Tn = 22 500 the unit and the draw direction. In a previous paper
natural draw ratio was 3.6. This is very similar [11] values of c ~ have been tabulated in
to the effect shown in Fig. 2. The results in Fig. terms of the draw ratio.
3 also confirm the effect of temperature on A later paper [6] extended this approach to the
natural draw ratio, although it is important to drawing of pre-oriented fibres, assuming that the
note that this effect is reduced by increasing pre-orientation at extrusion induces affine
degrees of pre-orientation and that the 20 and deformation comparable to the stretching of a
60~ samples have very similar natural draw cross-linked rubber network. There is, therefore,
ratios even at the lowest pre-orientation. It also a complicated two-stage development of orienta-
appears that the molecular weight effects are tion, and this was discussed analytically. It was
reduced to negligible proportions at high shown that Equation 1 becomes
pre-orientation. These results, taken together, An -- /3Ani = 89 cos20 - 1) (2)
suggest that the mechanism of network deforma-
tion may be different at very low degrees of where Ani is the pre-orientation birefringence and
pre-orientation, as had indeed been suspected in fl is another orientation function which was
the previous studies [10]. The conclusion is that a tabulated in the previous paper, and is approxi-
limiting network extensibility of about 4.0 exists mately unity.
for moderate and high degrees of pre-orientation, Fig. 4 shows the results for the cold drawn
and for these samples the natural draw ratio is pre-oriented fibres, plotting the quantity An --
independent of molecular weight and tempera- ~Ani as a function of draw ratio. Three samples
ture. At very low degrees of pre-orientation, extended past their natural drawn ratio are also
higher natural draw ratios can be achieved, these indicated. The three curves are calculated from
now being dependent on temperature and the tabulated values of the previous paper for
polymer molecular weight. different values of Anmax. The results for 20~
gave a best fit to Equation 2 with Anmax = 0.235
3.2. Optical anisotropy • 0.005, consistent with the results of other
The birefringences of the drawn fibres were recent work [14, 15].
examined in the light of previous studies [2] and The following conclusions can be drawn from
a theoretical model for molecular reorientation consideration of all the data.
[11 ]. In this model it is assumed that the optical (1) There is no difference in the optical
anisotropy results from the orientation of behaviour of the low and high molecular weight
anisotropic structural units, whose optical samples. It can be concluded that the reorienta-
properties are identical to those of the fully tion mechanism is independent of molecular
oriented fibre. The units are assumed to possess weight, and that the degree of alignment relates
transverse isotropy and are defined by P1, the only to the draw ratio.
principal polarizability of the unit parallel to its ( 2 ) There is no observed difference in the

Anmax affine deformation scheme. It should perhaps be
pointed out that the results are not a very
Uniformly extended O.25
past the natural / sensitive test for the additional term ~Ani which
draw ratio \ / takes into account pre-orientation because this
\\ \~ 9 /0'23
0.I81 term is small in the region of interest in this work.
5/ The previous studies [2] were a better test for
this part of the theory. It is very satisfactory that
the results at 20~ and lower temperatures
suggest a value for Anmax= 0.235 :k 0.005 which
is consistent with other recent studies of molecu-
lar orientation in PET using broad line nuclear
8 magnetic resonance [14] and laser Raman
~ 0.14 spectroscopy [15].

rn Temperature ] . ~ X n. . . . .
4. Conclusions
14 U U U 122 bUl~ (1) The results of the present study are consistent
0"12 /// 7 . o with previous conclusions regarding the in-
/ i / . o fluence of pre-orientation on the natural draw
I / + ratio of amorphous PET. With the exception of
/ -30~ tl z~ the very lowest pre-orientation samples, the
0.10 -60~ 1 [] drawing behaviour is consistent with a constant
3 4 network extensibility, irrespective of the division
Draw ratio
of extension between the extrusion and drawing
Figure 4 Modified birefringence (An - [3AnO as a processes.
function of draw ratio. (2) In samples of very low pre-orientation, the
natural draw ratio is dependent on the drawing
temperature. The natural draw ratio of such
samples is also dependent on molecular weight.
pattern of development of optical anisotropy The effects are significant, in that the draw ratio
with draw ratio over the temperature range 20 to may vary by a factor of about two, but do not
- 60 ~C. Again the degree of alignment relates suggest any remarkable changes of kind in the
only to the draw ratio. mechanism of deformation, only changes in the
(3) The results at + 60~ do appear to be nature of the molecular network and its degree
significantly lower than those at other tempera- of extensibility.
tures. It is suggested that the deformation at (3) The development of molecular alignment is
this high temperature begins to deviate from consistent with a simple continuum view of the
pseudo-affine deformation and begins to change mechanism of deformation and the pseudo-
to affine deformation. This suggestion receives affine deformation scheme appears to hold for
confirmation from other recent work on drawing the drawing process even if the natural draw
PET where the development of optical aniso- ratio is changed by molecular weight or tem-
tropy has been compared with changes in the perature.
infra-red spectrum [16]. In these experiments on amorphous PET, in
(4) Those samples extended past the natural distinction to those on crystalline linear poly-
draw ratio still developed orientation in an ethylene, the draw ratios are comparatively
identical manner to those extended to the small. In the polyethylene case, the mechanism of
natural draw ratio only. This indicated that the draw at high draw ratios is clearly quite different
mechanism of alignment still relates to the draw from that observed at low draw ratios in both
ratio and is not altered by the change from the polyethylene and PET. At high draw ratios in
inhomogeneous deformation during necking and polyethylene, it can be concluded that there is
cold drawing to homogeneous plastic deforma- substantial pulling out of chain folds [17] rather
tion beyond this extension. than the reorientation of the initial material on
(5) The theoretical model proposed previously a simple continuum basis, and indeed the degree
[6] is adequate to describe the results, i.e. the of molecular alignment as revealed by bire-
orientation during cold drawing fits the pseudo- fringence can remain substantially constant [18].
J. S. F O O T , I. M. W A R D

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