Metallocene ethylene-1-octene copolymers having different densities and comonomer content ranging from 11 to 36 wt% (m-LLDPE), and a Ziegler copolymer (z-LLDPE) containing the same level of short-chain branching (SCB) corresponding to one of the m-LLDPE polymers, were subjected to extrusion. The effects of temperature (210-285 °C) and multi-pass extrusions (up to five passes) on the rheological and structural characteristics of these polymers were investigated using melt index and capillary rheometry, along with spectroscopic characterisation of the evolution of various products by FTIR, C-NMR and colour measurements. The aim is to develop a better understanding of the effects of processing variables on the structure and thermal degradation of these polymers. Results from rheology show that both extrusion temperature and the amount of comonomer have a significant influence on the polymer melt thermo-oxidative behaviour. At low to intermediate processing temperatures, all m-LLDPE polymers exhibited similar behaviour with crosslinking reactions dominating their thermal oxidation. By contrast, at higher processing temperatures, the behaviour of the metallocene polymers changed depending on the level of comonomer content: higher SCB gave rise to predominantly chain scission reactions whereas polymers with lower level of SCB continued to be dominated by crosslinking. This temperature dependence was attributed to changes in the different evolution of carbonyl and unsaturated compounds including vinyl, vinylidene and trans-vinylene.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Polymer Degradation and Stability|
|Early online date||24 Aug 2007|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2007|
- olefin copolymers
- thermal oxidation
- melt extrusion