Composites suitable for rotational molding technology based on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and filled with hollow glass microspheres or functionalized hollow glass microspheres were prepared via melt-compounding. The functionalization of hollow glass microspheres was carried out by a silanization treatment in order to improve the compatibility between the inorganic particles and the polymer matrix and achieve a good dispersion of hollow glass microspheres in the matrix and an enhanced filler–polymer adhesion.

The crystallization behavior of materials was studied by DSC under isothermal and non-isothermal conditions and the nucleating effect of the hollow glass microspheres was proven. In particular, the presence of silanized hollow glass microspheres promoted faster crystallization rates and higher nucleation activity, which are enhanced by 75% and 50%, respectively, comparing neat PCL and the composite filled with 20 wt% hollow glass microsphere.

The crystalline and supermolecular structure of PCL and composites crystallized from the melt was evaluated by WAXD and SAXS, highlighting differences in terms of crystallinity index and structural parameters as a function of the adopted crystallization conditions.