Fiber Materials / Alfa Chemistry
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Fiber Nanostructure Analysis

Polymers and organic fibers are usually made of many intertwined molecules. The orientation, size, and interconnected structure of these fibers at the nanoscale strongly influence their overall performance. Alfa Chemistry provides fiber nanostructure analysis services, giving you a microscopic perspective on studying fiber materials. Our fiber analysis laboratory has a strong technical infrastructure and a team of well-trained and experienced experts.

Optional Service Items

After the crystalline polymer is spun, in order to improve the strength of the fiber, it needs to be pulled so that the polymer microcrystals (or polymer chains) in the fiber are oriented along the fiber axis to a certain extent. At the same time, the crystallinity of the polymer gradually increases, the elongation decreases, and the strength of the fiber increases. Therefore, it is very important to measure the degree of orientation of polymer crystallites (or polymer chains) along the fiber axis. Combining extensive analytical experience and advanced technology, our team provides comprehensive and accurate fiber nanostructure analysis services, as well as detailed analysis results and reports. Our services include but are not limited to the following:

Optional Service Items

  • Determination of fiber orientation
  • Determination of fiber crystallinity
  • Determination of fiber nanosize
  • Determination of fiber nanotopography

Analytical Technology

  • Optical Birefringence
    The orientation of fiber structural units results in anisotropy of fiber mechanical, thermal, and optical properties. Therefore, the degree of orientation of the fibers can be studied by the characteristics of the anisotropy, such as optical anisotropy. The more regular the arrangement of polymer chains along the fiber direction and the greater the degree of orientation, the greater the difference in refractive index between the two directions. The birefringence reflects the orientation in the small size range, and what is measured is the combined effect of both orientations in the crystalline and amorphous regions.
  • X-Ray Diffraction
    X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques can be used to study the crystal structure of fiber materials. For example, Anders Thygesen et al. used an X-ray powder diffraction-based method to determine crystallinity in plant fibers in reflectance (Bragg-Brentano) mode. [1]

Diffractograms of filter paper measured in transmission mode (a) and reflection mode (b and c).Diffractograms of filter paper measured in transmission mode (a) and reflection mode (b & c).

  • Small Angle X-Ray Scattering
    Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) is a powerful method for studying particles in the 1 nm to 0.1 µm range. This technique provides information not only on nanoparticle size, shape, and size distribution, but also on structural dynamics.
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy
    Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy can be used to determine fiber crystallinity and orientation information. For example, Yongliang Liu et al. reported an algorithm to determine fiber crystallinity from FT-IR spectra and compared the fiber crystallinity information between and XRD measurements. [2]

Representative FT-IR spectra of cotton fibers.Representative FT-IR spectra of cotton fibers.

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  1. Anders Thygesen, et al. Cellulose, 2005, 12, 563–576.
  2. Yongliang Liu, et al. Applied Spectroscopy, 2012, 66(8), 983-986.

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