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Factors affecting the adsorption of stabilisers onto carbon black (flow micro-calorimetry studies) 4. Secondary antioxidants

Peña, J. J., Allen, Norman S., Edge, Michele, Liauw, Chris, Rodrigueza, Miguel and Fontan, Eusebio (2001) Factors affecting the adsorption of stabilisers onto carbon black (flow micro-calorimetry studies) 4. Secondary antioxidants. Polymer degradation and stability, 72 (1). pp. 31-45. ISSN 0141-3910

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The thermal oxidation of ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymer [EVA-17 and 28% w/w VA (vinyl acetate) units] has been examined by thermo-gravimetric and hydroperoxide analysis, FTIR (Fourier transform infra-red), fluorescence spectroscopy and yellowness index. Thermal analysis indicates the initial loss of acetic acid followed by oxidation and breakdown of the main chain. The degradation rate is greater in an oxygen atmosphere as is the formation of coloured products. FTIR spectroscopic analysis of the oxidised EVA shows evidence for de-acetylation followed by the concurrent formation of hydroxyl/hydroperoxide species, ketone groups, α, β-unsaturated carbonyl groups, conjugated dienes, lactones and various substituted vinyl types. Hydroperoxide evolution follows typical auto-oxidation kinetics forming ketonic species. In severely oxidised EVA, evidence is given for the subsequent formation of anhydride groups. The initial fluorescence excitation and emission spectra of EVA is not unlike that reported for polyolefins confirming the presence of low levels of unsaturated carbonyl species. There are, however, significant differences in a long wavelength component in the fluorescence emission indicating the presence of other active chromophores. These long wavelength emitting components grow in intensity and shift to longer wavelengths with ageing time. However, unlike studies on PVC these emission spectra are limited due to the vinyl polyconjugation lengths and tend to be consistent with the formation of specific degraded units, possibly polyunsaturated carbonyl species of a limited length confined to the EVA blocks. During oxidation of EVA the original unsaturated carbonyl species remain as distinct emitting chromophores. This suggests that the growth and decay of these chromphores is virtually constant indicating that they could be an integral part of the EVA polymer that are responsible for inducing degradation. Degradation is limited to the vinyl acetate moieties where hydroperoxides can lead to the formation of polyconjugated carbonyl groups. The EVA degradation is therefore, different from that of PVC where in the latter case polyconjugated vinyl groups are evident through conjugated absorption bands in the UV spectrum. In the case of degraded EVA no such bands are observed. Also, degraded coloured EVA is not bleached by treatment with bromine, maleic anhydride or peracetic acid. Primary phenolic antioxidants exhibit variable activity in inhibiting the yellowing of EVA while combinations with phosphites and hindered piperidine stabilisers display powerful synergism confirming the importance of hydroperoxides as precursors. Thermal oxidation was also was displayed through the inhibition of lactone, carboxylic acid and alkene groups illustrating the fact that oxidation and yellowing are synonymous reactions.

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