Journal of Chemical Physics vol:122 issue:6 pages:-
In this study, polycarbonate (PC) and polystyrene (PS) are subjected to plastic deformation by means of cold rolling and the resulting variation of the free volume and its subsequent time evolution after rolling is investigated by means of positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS). The value of the long lifetime component that is attributed to the decay of ortho-positronium (tau(o-Ps)) and its intensity (Io-Ps) are used to characterize, respectively, the size and the concentration of the free-volume holes. In addition to the PALS experiments, the effect of plastic deformation on the dynamic tensile modulus is investigated. The PALS results show that both for well-aged PC and PS an increase of tau(o-Ps) and a decrease of Io-Ps occur upon plastic deformation. During the subsequent aging, tau(o-Ps) tends to return to the value assumed before plastic deformation, while Io-Ps remains constant with time. These results corroborate the idea of an amorphous-amorphous transition, rather than that of a "mechanical rejuvenation" as proposed in the past to explain the ability of plastic deformation to reinitiate physical aging. Finally, a linear relation between the size of the free-volume holes and the dynamic tensile modulus is found, which suggests that the stiffness of amorphous glassy polymers is fully determined by their nanoscopic structure. (C) 2005 American Institute of Physics.