Collect. Czech. Chem. Commun. 1995, 60, 1875-1887

Stress Whitening in Polypropylene. I. Light Scattering Theory and Model Experiments

Jaroslav Holoubek and Miroslav Raab

Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 162 06 Prague 6, Czech Republic


Theoretical background for an optical method is presented which makes it possible to distinguish unambiguously between voids and particles as light scattering sites in polymeric materials. Typical dependences of turbidity as a function of diameter of scattering elements, their volume fractions and also turbidity curves as a function of the wavelength of the incident light were calculated, based both on the Lorenz-Mie theory and the fluctuation theory. Such dependences calculated for polypropylene-containing voids on the one hand and particles, differing only slightly from the surrounding matrix in their refractive index, on the other hand, are markedly different. The most significant results are: (i) Turbidity is at least by two orders of magnitude larger for voids in comparison to embedded particles of ethylene-propylene (EPDM) rubber of the same size, concentration and at the same wavelength. (ii) The wavelength dependence of turbidity for EPDM particles and the inherent refractive index fluctuations in the polypropylene matrix is much steeper as compared to voids for all considered diameters (0.1-10 μm). Thus, the nature of stress whitening in complex polymeric materials can be determined from turbidity measurements.