Degradation and stabilisation of diisocyanate cured polybutadiene

  • Ting Wang

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) has been used as a rocket propellant binder which is required to be stored for at least twenty years. It is found that the excellent stress-strain characteristics of this propellant can be totally lost, during this long storage, due to the deterioration of the polybutadiene chains. As a result, the propellant can not stand the service loads, which may lead to a catastrophe.
The study of the HTPB binder degradation, below 80°C, has been carried out by investigating the environmental factors and the changes which occur along the macromolecular chains.
Results have shown that oxygen is the main factor which causes the
crosslinking and chain scission reactions. The former is the predominant
reaction and proceeds rapidly under oxygen sufficient environment. The
unsaturation of polymer chain, which provides the desired physical properties
to the binder, was lost with the increase in crosslink density. At the same time
hydroperoxides were found to form and decompose along the polymer chains.
Therefore, the deterioration of the binder results from the oxidation of polymer
chains. Since the oxidation reaction occurred at higher rate than oxygen diffusion rate and oxygen diffusion rate is inversely proportional to the crosslink density, the binder, below the surface layer in a thick section container, could be naturally protected under an oxygen deficient condition for a long time.
Investigation of the effectiveness of antioxidants in HTPB binder has shown that the efficiency of an antioxidant depends on its ability to scavenge radicals. Generally, aromatic amines are the most effective binder antioxidants. But when a peroxide decomposer is combined with an aromatic amine at the appropriate ratio, a synergistic effect is obtained, which gives the lowest binder gel increase rate.
Date of AwardJun 1992
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGerald Scott (Supervisor), Sahar Al-Malaika (Supervisor) & A. Davis (Supervisor)


  • HTPB binder
  • polybutadiene oxidation
  • oxygen diffusion in rubber
  • nmr of polybutadiene
  • antioxidants in polybutadiene
  • synergistic effect of antioxidants

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