Water in local free volumes of polyimides: A positron lifetime study

G. Dlubek*, R. Buchhold, Ch Hübner, A. Nakladal

*Corresponding author for this work
41 Citations (Scopus)


Positron annihilation lifetime (PAL) spectroscopy was used to study the effect of water uptake on the free volume in 6FDA-ODA polyimide (PI2566, DuPont). Orthopositronium (o-Ps) lifetime (τ3) and intensity (I3) data were analyzed assuming a Gaussian size distribution of preexisting (excess free volume) holes and further assuming that holes occupied by water molecules would not be detected in the measurement. When exposed to humidity, both the mean hole volume and the number of holes not occupied by water molecules decrease with increasing relative humidity, as indicated by decreasing τ3 and I3. Our PAL results correlated with humidity-induced mass uptake and volume expansion support a model according to which water absorption in polyimides occurs in two stages. At relative humidities smaller than about 30%, water is absorbed mostly in large, preexisting holes, with each hole typically occupied by a single water molecule. At larger humidities, an increasing fraction of the sorbed water molecules will occupy sites other than preexisting empty holes. A multiple occupation of larger holes by water molecules is discussed as a possible mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2348-2355
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 06.04.1999


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