Influence of electron beam irradiation on properties of fluorine-containing poly(aryl ether ketone)s



The influence of electron beam irradiation on the properties of fluorine-containing poly(aryl ether ketone)s (F-PEK), derived from 2,3,4,5,6-pentafluorobenzoic acid, was examined. Irradiation was performed with an electron beam at a dose of 3.63 × 103 Gy s−1 for which the corresponding doses were 29.0, 51.0, and 94.5 MGy. Tensile strength at break increased up to a dose of 29.0 MGy and then decreased very slightly with irradiation. Elongation at break was more susceptible to irradiation and decreased drastically to one tenth at a dose of 29.0 MGy. Young's modulus was enhanced by the irradiation. F-PEKs were changed from elastic materials to strong and brittle materials by irradiation. Relaxation of the viscoelastic property shifted toward higher temperature by irradiation. These tensile and viscoelastic property changes were attributed to the formation of a bulkier and more rigid structure by crosslinking. The fluorine atoms attached to the 1,4-phenylene moiety in F-PEKs were surprisingly susceptible to the irradiation and were completely lost at a dose of 29.0 MGy. The π-electron conjugated aromatic structure was concurrently developed during irradiation. Further, polar functional groups such as carboxyl group and ester group were generated by chain scission and rearrangement. The F-PEKs retained their good transparency and the thermal stability was significantly improved after irradiation. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 91: 157–166, 2004