Surface of biaxially oriented poly(ethylene terephthalate) films was chemically modified by exposure to ethylenediamine (EDA), triethylenetetramine (TETA), and tetraethylenepentamine (TEPA) for different treatment times. Variable angle attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy was used in conjunction with weight loss measurements, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy to establish the surface modification and to draw the depth profile of the newly created species, with emphasis on amide group. A clear differentiation was found between the effects of the three amines studied: EDA produces the highest amidation degree but, because of its deep penetration into the film, leads to delamination of rather thick layers, TETA reacts at and near surface and develops surface cracks without delamination, and TEPA is the mildest reactant, generating amide groups on the surface without visible deterioration of the sample. It was proved that the amide II absorption band became weaker with increasing analyzed depth, with a pronounced heterogeneity near the surface. SEM micrographs showed the development of cracks onto the surface at longer aminolysis time, which allowed a better understanding of ATR-FTIR observations. Assuming an exponential decay for the depth profile spectrally obtained, the surface concentration of amide groups and the decay constant were determined for the amines and reaction times used. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2010
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