The microstructural changes in high-energy electron-irradiated poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene) 68/32 mol% copolymer have been studied by X-ray diffraction, FTIR spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. The macroscopic polarization response in these materials was investigated by examining the dielectric and polarization behavior in a broad temperature and frequency range. It was found that besides reducing crystallinity in the copolymer film, irradiation produces significant changes in the ferroelectric-to-paraelectric phase transition behavior. The irradiation leads to a reduction in the polar domain size to below a critical size (a few nanometers), resulting in the instability of the macroscopic ferroelectric state and transforming the structure of the crystalline region in the copolymer from a polar all-trans ferroelectric to a nonpolar state represented by a trans-gauche conformation. However, a reentrant polarization hysteresis was observed in the copolymers irradiated with higher doses (> 75 Mrad). Therefore, there is an optimized dose that generates a copolymer with a nonpolar structure but relatively high crystallinity whose electromechanical performance is the best. In the copolymers in this optimum dose range, FT-IR data revealed that there is not much change in the molecular conformation with temperature, even as the temperature passes through the dielectric peak, indicating that there is no symmetry breaking in both the macroscale and local level. Although the lattice spacing of the crystalline region along the molecular chain direction discontinuously changes between two special cases, the interchain spacing continuously changes with the irradiation dose, reflecting a strong intrachain coupling between the nonpolar and polar regions. On the other hand, the X-ray data reveal that the crystalline size perpendicular to the polymer chain does not change with irradiation until at doses exceeding 85 Mrad.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry