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Scientists at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern are using the LTS420 temperature stage for crystallization studies on semi-crystalline polymers

Market leaders in temperature controlled microscopy, Linkam Scientific Instruments report on the use of their functional LTS420 temperature stage for crystallization studies at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern.

The LTS420 stage in the Composite Engineering LaboratoryFounded in 1970, the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern is organized into 12 faculties. It is the only technology and natural sciences University in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz and its reputation for excellent teaching makes it one of the highest ranking Universities in Germany.

PhD candidate, Mr Buncha Suksut MSc, is completing his studies at the Department for Composite Engineering at the University. His work focuses on the morphology development and micro-/nanoscopic deformation behaviour of thermoplastic materials reinforced on the nanoscale.

Mr Suksut commented "The study of the microstructure development during crystallization of semi-crystalline polymers can be performed by using the LTS420 hot stage and polarized light microscopy. The final mechanical properties of semi-crystalline polymers strongly depend on the morphology which is governed by the respective processing and crystallization process. Therefore, a study of the crystallization behaviour of polymers is of importance to get an inside view of the solidification of polymers in processing."

The LTS420 hot stage is an easy to use, versatile heating and freezing stage optimized for isothermal sample analysis applications where high speed heating and cooling are compromised by larger sample area. The stage has an excellent thermal stability of less than 0.1°C. The stage consists of a large area temperature controlled element with a platinum resistor sensor embedded close to the surface for accurate temperature measurements. The sample is simply mounted on a standard microscope slide in direct contact with the heating element and can be manipulated 15mm in X and Y directions. The sample chamber has gas valves to purge with either inert gas or humidity.

Mr Suksut explained "The aim of my study is to characterize the crystallization of polymers by using polarized light optical microscopy. Because the crystallization of a polymer starts at high temperature, we are using the hot stage to generate the heat. We have equipped the microscope with the hot stage to observe the crystallization during heating/cooling processes. The specimens are heated up to a certain point above the melting temperature and then cooled down with a defined cooling speed. During cooling, images are captured using a digital camera. From these results, the spherulitic growth rate can be calculated by measuring the radius of spherulite as a function of time. Our research activities focus on the crystallization behaviour of particle filled semi-crystalline polymers. By using the method we discovered that some nano-sized particles facilitate the crystallization resulting in shorter cycle-times in processing."

Continuing, he added "The benefits in using Linkam's stage are that it has a high max temperature, with a precise temperature control system, is easy to operate and the design is uncomplicated – it is very easy to understand how it works". 

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