Achieving an in-depth understanding of the mechanical properties of polymeric materials can be complex due to their diverse chemical compositions and physical structures. A polymer with a specific molecular weight and at a specific temperature can behave as either a liquid or solid, depending on the time scale of the test. Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of this viscoelastic behavior on the molecular level is important for developing polymers with enhanced properties.
The mechanical and tribological properties of polymers depend on several factors beyond just the monomer unit comprising it, such as the stereochemistry of the linkage, crystallinity, and the degree of crosslinking. Polymer blends may also be used to enhance properties beyond what can be obtained through a single polymeric species. Properties of polymer blends highly depend on the degree of dispersion, size of dispersion phases, and interfacial phase interaction between the components of the blend. The ability to quantitatively characterize individual constituents of the morphology and interfacial behavior is required to engineer new polymeric materials with unique properties.