The tensile loading-induced necking in notched specimens of an amorphous copolyester (aCOP) was studied by modulated differential
scanning calorimetry (MDSC). It was shown that necking occurred by cold drawing since the enthalpy of cold crystallization
and that of the subsequent melting agreed fairly with each other. Increasing deformation in the necking zone and increasing
deformation rate of the specimens shifted the onset of cold crystallization toward lower temperatures and yielded a slightly
higher glass transition temperature (Tg). This was attributed to the molecular orientation caused by mechanical loading. The finding that the melting contained a
non-reversing part was considered as appearance of possible microcrystallinity. The Tg range was strongly influenced by the deformation rate and reflects the thermomechanical history of the samples accordingly.
The toughness of amorphous copolyester sheets was assessed by the essential work of fracture (EWF) concept. While the yielding-related
work of fracture terms did not change significantly, the necking-related parameters strongly decreased with decreasing entanglement
density of the copolyesters having different amounts of cyclohexylenedimethylene (CHDM) units in their backbones. Furthermore, copolyesters with high CHDM content and thus less entanglement density showed full recovery of the necked region beyond the glass transition temperature,
i.e. the ‘plastic’ zone in the related specimens formed by cold drawing and not by true plastic deformation. By contrast,
the copolyester with negligible amount of CHDM did not show this shape recovery. Modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC) revealed that the necking in the latter
system was accompanied by strain-induced crystallization. The superior work hardening in the necking stage of the respective
poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) specimens can thus be ascribed to stretching of the entanglement network with superimposed crystallization.