Different melt pre-shear conditions were applied to isotactic poly-1-butene (iP-1-B) and the effect on the crystallization behaviors and the crystalline structure transitions of iP-1-B were investigated. The polarized optical microscope observations during isothermal crystallization process revealed that the applied melt pre-shear within the experimental range could enhance the nucleation of crystal II and accelerate the diameter growth of the formed spherulites. If the applied melt pre-shear rate was large enough, Shish-Kebabs structure could be formed. After the isothermal crystallization process, the following crystal transition from form II to form I of iP-1-B at room temperature was characterized by X-ray diffraction. It was found that the applied melt pre-shear within the experimental range seemed to have no influence on the crystal transition, implying no strong enough internal stress was formed in the melt pre-sheared iP-1-B samples. Further investigations were applied with synchrotron radiation instruments. Wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) after the crystal transition showed that the applied melt pre-shear could result in orientated fine crystalline structures. With the melt pre-shear rate increasing, the lattice spaces of the crystallites decreased and the long period, L, and the amorphous layer thickness, La, along the equator direction increased slightly, but L and La along the meridian direction was not affected by melt pre-shear flow. Though the orientated crystalline structures existed in the iP-1-B samples, no accelerating effect on crystal transition from II to I was found. Importantly, the final crystalline structures of iP-1-B in form I was found tunable under different melt pre-shear conditions, even though there was an additional crystal transition process after the isothermal crystallization process of iP-1-B.
Journal of Polymer Research, 2014, Vol 21, Issue 9