The influence of blend composition on deformation as well as stress-optical behavior of cast amorphous PEN/PEI blends is investigated above their respected glass transition temperatures. To elucidate the structural changes occurring during stretching a real time birefringence technique coupled with true stress/strain measurement technique is used. These techniques are able to track fast changes in birefringence and stress levels as the film is being deformed. The results obtained by these two techniques permit determination of the stress optical coefficient and the limits of validity of Stress-Optical Rule (SOR). Further investigations by X-ray and DSC measurements help to understand and clarify the structure developed during the deformation process of the material. These studies indicate that the deformation of 95/5 and 90/10 PEN/PEI blends in rubbery state involves three main stages. In the first stage the material remains amorphous following the stress optical rule. In the second stage the birefringence rises rapidly and it is associated with the highly disordered nematic like structure formation. The final stage is attributed to finite chain extensibility resulting in little change in birefringence with significant stress increase. 80/20 PEN/PEI blend does not show up the final stage III in the deformation process and it seems it is delayed to higher stretch levels as the crystallization is highly suppressed due to dilution effect .
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