Ensuring the geometrical stability of organic coatings is a key challenge for steel/polymer composites produced by the automotive industry to reduce the cars' weight. During the thermal treatment of painting, which exceeds the melting temperature of the organic part of the laminated film, polymer shrinkage may occur. It induces uncovered parts of the steel sheet which would present negative corrosion behavior in use. Two original and innovative experiments were presented. They enable to measure the deformation induced by the shrinkage and then to identify the microstructural mechanisms responsible for its appearance. Main results show strong influences of the macromolecular chains orientation induced by the film extrusion process and of the postheating parameters used to perform the painting curing. Raman spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry are used both to perform analysis of the microstructure evolution during heating treatments in terms of crystals melting, crystalline macromolecular chains disorientation, and volume damage healing. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012
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