• essential work of fracture;
  • poly(ethylene terephthalate);
  • fibrillar microstructure;
  • anisotropic mechanical properties


The biaxial sequential stretching process of poly(ethylene terephthalate) produces films with a fibrillar microstructure in which fibrils are parallel to the transverse extrusion direction. The mechanical properties of such films are strongly anisotropic due to both the orientation of crystallites and the properties of the intrafibrillar and interfibrillar amorphous phases. The idea is to modulate the properties of the amorphous phase without altering the fibrillar structure by annealing treatments. The morphology (crystallinity and orientation of the crystalline phase) of the annealed films is characterized and their mechanical properties (tensile tests and essential work of fracture) are tested in the longitudinal direction (parallel to the micro fibrils) and in the transverse direction (perpendicular to the micro fibrils). The crystalline phase orientation is the key parameter governing modulus anisotropy. Concerning crack propagation, annealing treatments lead to opposite evolution of the specific essential work of fracture parameter (we) in the longitudinal and transverse directions. Thus, it is possible to erase fracture propagation anisotropy through an adequate annealing treatment. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry