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The composition of commercial, resinous materials is becoming more complex. There is considerable concern regarding the recognition of functional units in the finished product and their relation with unique physical properties. When investigating polyphase, polymeric systems, it is advantageous to start at low magnification and then proceed to higher levels of magnification, using a variety of microscopical instrumentation and related techniques. Methods which exemplify applications to the systematic study of simple and complex polymeric materials are briefly described and include the following: (1) radiography of the bulk specimen, (2) simple macroprojection of replicas of brittle-fracture surfaces, (3) ultraviolet microscopy for selective differentiation, and (4) electron microscopy for depicting fine detail in thin sections and in replicas.
The application of the electron microscope and the brittle-fracture method will be emphasized to show that in a specific complex polymer system, represented by a commercial, molded impact-resistant material, the morphology of the brittle-fracture surface is directly related to the polyphase character of the polymer. By applying this method in conjunction with supporting instrumentation, the distribution of the particulate, reinforcing phase in a high-impactstrength, molded material was depicted.
Botty, M. C.
American Cyanamid Co., Stamford, Conn