English Abstract

Introduction of Polymer Physical Chemistry Laboratory at the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials (IMRAM) , Tohoku University

Hiroshi JINNAI
Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
Nippon Gomu Kyokaishi,(2023),96(6),141-146 General Review in Japanese

The research activities of the Polymer Physical Chemistry (PPC) laboratory at IMRAM, Tohoku University, were described. We aim to develop the structure-property relationship of soft materials, especially self-assembling polymer alloys and composite materials of polymers and inorganic solids (nano-composites) , regarding their hierarchical structures. For detailed structural characterization, we develop novel nanoscale methodologies mainly based on transmission electron microscopy (TEM) , e.g., electron tomography, in-situ imaging under deformations, diffraction-based nano-imaging, etc. In this article, we describe the past and present status of the PPC laboratory, and available instrumentations, followed by brief introductions of recent achievements. They are (i) direct in-situ observation of nanofiller-filled rubber under uniaxial stretching and (ii) a staining-less direct observation of the crystalline structure of polyethylene (PE) . The former (i) demonstrated local strain and stress measurements that heavily depended on the distribution of fillers. The local stress was visualized by combining TEM experiments and computer simulation, providing fundamental knowledge for toughening mechanisms of rubber-based composites. The latter (ii) established direct visualization of crystalline structures of PE, revealing true structures without traditional contrast enhancement, the staining. Moreover, besides the crystalline/amorphous distribution, other (controversial) aspects of polymer crystals, e.g., chain orientation inside lamellar crystals, can be measured without any assumptions.

Keywords: The Polymer Physical Chemistry (PPC) Laboratory at Tohoku University, Self-assembling Polymeric Structures, Polymer Alloys, Nano-composites, Electron Microscopy, Electron Tomography, Structural Characterization under Deformation, Nano-diffraction Imaging