A phase-separated structure of the injection-molded isotactic polypropylene (iPP)/poly(ethylene-co-octene) (EOR) binary blend was studied in three-dimension (3D) by transmission electron microtomography (TEMT). Highly oriented EOR domains along both flow- (FD) and transverse-to-flow (TD) directions resulting in stacking lamella-sheet like structures to normal direction (ND) were confirmed. Some irregularities in morphology and intervals between the EOR sheets, and thickness heterogeneity of the sheets, were observed more frequently in the TD rather than in the FD. Using the 3D information obtained by the TEMT, we have tried to elucidate massive anisotropy in linear thermal expansion coefficient (CLTE) along the injection directions in this blend. We found that the CLTE anisotropy was well correlated with the lamella-like sheets arrays and their irregularities.
2006 The Society of Rubber Science and Technology, Japan