Mechanistic investigations and optimizations of thermal stability in polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride blends
Conley, Mark Lewis
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The thermal stability of two distinct blended polymer systems was examined. A model for polyethylene was used to investigate the vulnerability of polyethylene to premature crosslinking in industrial crosslinking conditions. Careful experiments were conducted to gather evidence of the interaction between a peroxide crosslinking agent and a specific antioxidant additive. Multiple lines of evidence were combined to propose a complete mechanism of interaction between the two species. The mechanism was further tested and a hypothesis was proposed for the reduction in premature crosslinking exhibited when the two species are present in polyethylene blends. A specific aspect of the proposed mechanism warranted further investigation on its own. The acid-catalyzed degradation of the peroxide initiator was thoroughly investigated. The thermal degradation of polyvinyl chloride was also studied. Model compounds were reacted with carboxylates to determine the relative rates of stabilization at various polymer defect sites. These model studies were combined with weight loss and color change investigations of bulk polymer systems. The knowledge gained from the model and polymer studies allowed for the proposal and examination of two novel stabilizing salt systems. The efficacy of the new stabilizers is presented.