Letter | Published:

Silica retards radial growth of spherulites in isotactic polystyrene

Naturevolume 287pages316317 (1980) | Download Citation



We recently reported the retardation of the rate of crystallization, measured calorimetrically, in isotactic polystyrene (iPS) nucleated with silica (Cab-O-Sil) that had been treated with trimethylsilane1. The loading of the nucleant was 5 g per 100 g of polymer or two parts per hundred (p.p.h.) by volume, of polymer. From microscopic observations it was known that the number of nuclei present in the nucleated system was at least double that present in the pure polymer in identical cooling conditions2. The only rationale available for the retardation effect seemed to be that the nucleant was inhibiting the growth of the crystals and thus the overall rate of crystallization. However, previous workers have reported spherulitic growth rates to be unaffected by the presence of nucleants in systems with loadings up to 3 p.p.h. (refs 3–6). To clarify this apparent paradox the measurement of the radial growth rates of spherulites in the system iPS–silica by photomicrography was undertaken. Here we confirm that silica does retard the rate of growth of such spherulites.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Turturro, G. & St-Pierre, L. E. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 67, 349 (1978).

  2. 2

    Cole, J. H. & St-Pierre, L. E. J. Polymer Sci., Polymer Symp. 63, 205 (1978).

  3. 3

    Beck, H. N. & Ledbetter, H. D. J. appi Polymer Sci. 9, 2131 (1965).

  4. 4

    Binsbergen, F. L. & de Lange, B. G. M. Polymer 11, 309 (1970).

  5. 5

    Antwerpen, F. Van & Van Krevelen, D. W. J. Polymer Sci. 10, 2423 (1972).

  6. 6

    Groeninckx, G., Berghmans, H., Overbergh, N. & Smets, G. J. Polymer Sci. 12, 303 (1974).

  7. 7

    Hoffman, J. D. & Lauritzen, J. I. J. Res. natn. Bur. Std. A65, 297 (1961).

  8. 8

    Yim, A. thesis, McGill Univ., Montreal (1971).

  9. 9

    Yim, A., Chahal, R. S. & St-Pierre, L. E. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 43, 583 (1973).

  10. 10

    Chahal, R. S. & St-Pierre, L. E. Macromolecules 2, 193 (1969).

Download references

Author information

Author notes

    • G. Turturro

    Present address: Du Pont Research Laboratories, Kingston, Ontario, Canada


  1. Department of Chemistry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2K6

    • M. Kennedy
    • , G. Turturro
    • , G. R. Brown
    •  & L. E. St-Pierre


  1. Search for M. Kennedy in:

  2. Search for G. Turturro in:

  3. Search for G. R. Brown in:

  4. Search for L. E. St-Pierre in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.