The influence of annealing between the Curie transition and the melting point of solvent cast polyvinylidene fluoride trifluoroethylene copolymer films on the crystalline structure, mechanical and electrical properties, and oxygen permeability is investigated. Annealing leads to remarkable changes in the structure and properties of the copolymer, within the first four hours of treatment, and with kinetics depending on the temperature. The crystallinity increases by 19% (relative), resulting in a 10 K increase in the Curie transition, a 4 K increase of the melting temperature and a 2 K decrease in the glass transition temperature. A crystalline phase transition from the paraelectric α-phase to the ferroelectric β-phase is also evidenced using in-situ X-ray diffraction. The elastic modulus is found to increase by more than three-fold at room temperature and the loss peak at the glass transition is considerably reduced. The piezoelectric coefficient is found to increase by 40% and the dielectric properties are significantly changed. The most remarkable influence is the ten-fold reduction of the oxygen permeability, with a drastic reduction of the activation energy for oxygen transport. The improvement in oxygen barrier properties of the annealed copolymer is attributed to the restricted mobility of oxygen molecules in the semicrystalline polymer with nanometer sized crystallites. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2014, 52, 496–506
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