DOI: 10.3390/polym15234613 ISSN: 2073-4360

A Comparative Study on Crystallisation for Virgin and Recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): Multiscale Effects on Physico-Mechanical Properties

Laurianne Viora, Marie Combeau, Monica Francesca Pucci, Didier Perrin, Pierre-Jacques Liotier, Jean-Luc Bouvard, Christelle Combeaud
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • General Chemistry

Poly(Ethylene Terephthalate) (PET) is one of the most used polymers for packaging applications. Modifications induced by service conditions and the means to make this matter circular have to be understood to really close the loop (from bottle to bottle for example). Physico-chemical properties, crystalline organisation, and mechanical behaviour of virgin PET (vPET) are compared with those of recycled PET (rPET). Using different combined experimental methods (Calorimetry, Small Angle X-ray Scattering [SAXS], Atomic Force Microscopy [AFM], Dynamic Mechanical Analysis [DMA], and uniaxial tensile test), it has been proven that even if there is no change in the crystallinity of PET, the crystallisation process shows some differences (size and number of spherulites). The potential impact of these differences on local mechanical characterisation is explored and tends to demonstrate the development of a homogeneous microstructure, leading to well-controlled and relevant local mechanical property characterisation. The main contribution of the present study is a better understanding of crystallisation of PET and recycled PET during forming processes such as thermoforming or Injection Stretch Blow Moulding (ISBM), during which elongation at the point of breaking can depend on the microstructure conditioned by the crystallisation process.

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