Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMw-PE) is an engineering polymer that is widely used in demanding applications because of its un-paralleled properties such as high abrasion resistance, high-modulus and high-strength tapes and fibres, biaxial films etc. In common practice, to achieve the uniaxial and the biaxial products, the solution processing route is adopted to reduce the number of entanglements per chain, such as found in Dyneema(R) from DSM(R). Another elegant route to reduce the number of entanglements to ease solid-state processing is through controlled polymerisation using a single-site catalytic system. In this theses, how different polymerisation condition, such as temperature and time control molecular weight and the resultant entangled state in synthesised disentangled UHMw-PE is addressed. Linear dynamic melt rheology is used to follow entanglement formation in an initially disentangled melt. With the help of rheological studies, heterogeneity in the distribution of entanglements along the chain length and the crystal morphology produced during polymerisation is considered. For the understanding of influence of large shear flow on melt dynamics large amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS) is used and the non-linear viscoelastic regime is explored. A remarkable feature of overshoot in loss (viscous) modulus with increasing deformation (strain) in UHMw-PE melt in the LAOS is observed. This observation is characteristic of colloidal systems. The role of entanglement density in the amorphous region of the synthesised disentangled UHMw-PE (semi-crystalline polymers) on the melting and crystallisation is presented. To understand the effect of topological differences on melting behaviour, nascent entangled, nascent disentangled and melt-crystallised samples have been used. The role of superheating on the melting process is also addressed. Preliminary results on characteristic melting time of a crystal using TM-DSC are also presented.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.