Tear anisotropy in films blown from polyethylenes of different macromolecular architectures

W. Lee Li-Bong, Richard A. Register, David M. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Blown films of different types of polyethylenes, such as branched low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear high-density polyethylene (HDPE), are well known to tear easily along particular directions: along the film bubble's transverse direction for LDPE and along the machine direction (MD) for HDPE. Depending on the resin characteristics and processing conditions, different structures can form within the film; it is therefore difficult to separate the effects of the crystal structure and orientation on the film tear behavior from the effects of the macromolecular architecture, such as the molecular weight distribution and long-chain branching. Here we examine LDPE, HDPE, and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) blown films with similar crystal orientations, as verified by through-film X-ray scattering measurements. With these common orientations, LDPE and HDPE films still follow the usual preferred tear directions, whereas LLDPE tears isotropically despite an oriented crystal structure. These differences are attributed to the number densities of the tie molecules, especially along MD, which are considerably greater for linear-architecture polymers with a substantial fraction of long chains, capable of significant extension in now.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-420
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


  • Films
  • Polyethylene (PE)
  • Tear
  • Tie molecules
  • WAXS


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