• polyamides;
  • amorphous;
  • nylon;
  • NMR;
  • plasticization


Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

It is known that Polyamide 6 absorbs water in its amorphous phase. The exact composition of the amorphous phase will determine the uptake process. The heterogeneity in the amorphous phase with respect to plasticization by water uptake is quantified in this paper using NMR relaxometry. It is shown that water occupies and plasticizes only a small part (∼6%) of the nylon matrix. This part is located in between the crystalline domains where polymer chain mobility is higher. At low moisture content (<4%) water molecules are tightly bound to the polymer and have the same dynamics. A highly mobile pool of guest-hydrogen nuclei is detected starting at a moisture content of 4%. Here, water is absorbed in clusters and the interaction between the polymer chains and water molecules decreases, leading to decoupling of the dynamics of water and polymer.