The structures of polypropylene fibers, spun according to a factorial experimental design, have been studied with the aid of wide angle X-ray diffraction and bire-fringence measurements. From statistical analysis of the results, the fibers have been characterized in terms of their crystallographic order and the overall orientation of their constituent polymer chains. These properties have been quantitatively assessed as responses to seven specially selected process control parameters in the extrusion equipment used to process the fibers. For both crystallographic order and overall orientation, the metering pump speed (MPS) at which the fibers are extruded and the speed (WS) at which the extruded fibers are wound exert significant effects. Moreover, the interaction, WS × MPS, between these two control parameters also significantly influences orientation. For crystallographic order, two further significant parameters are the melt flow index (MFI) of the grade of polypropylene used and the temperature (ST) at which the polymer melt passes through the spinneret. The roles of these two factors in the development of crystallites within the fibers are discussed. No interaction effects, however, appear to be significant for crystallographic order. Models that specify the direction of change of the significant parameters for increasing or reducing both responses are given. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Statistical approach
- Structural properties