Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and wide-angle X-ray scattering: Investigations on polypropylene–vapor-grown carbon nanofiber composites

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Abstract

Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) investigations of isotactic polypropylene (iPP)–vapor-grown carbon nanofiber (VGCNF) composites containing various amounts of VGCNFs ranging between 0 and 20 wt %. are reported. The FTIR investigations were focused on the regularity bands of iPP. The FTIR data indicated a drop in the isotacticity index as the concentration of nanofibers was increased; this suggested a decrease in the crystallinity. WAXS measurements revealed a dominating α1 phase, with a small admixture of γ phase or mesophase. The loading of the polymeric matrix with carbon nanofibers (CNFs) did not induce significant changes in the morphology of the polymeric matrix. A weak decrease in the size of α crystallites upon loading of CNFs was noticed. The experimental data obtained by FTIR spectroscopy supported the WAXS data. Spectroscopic data (a drop in the isotacticity index as estimated by FTIR spectroscopy and the ratio between the crystalline and total areas of WAXS lines assigned to iPP) failed to confirm the enhancement of the degree of crystallinity of polypropylene upon loading by nanofibers. However, whereas both techniques can identify with a high accuracy vibrations in ordered domains (FTIR spectroscopy) and the crystalline structure, including the lattice parameters and the size of crystallites (WAXS), difficulties in the correct assessment of the baseline and of amorphous components may result in important errors (typically >5%) in the estimation of the degree of crystallinity of the polymeric component. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012

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