Functionalisation of polymers: reactive processing, structure and performance characteristics

  • E. Eddiyanto

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The main aim of this work was to study the effect of two comonomers, trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate (TRIS) and divinylbenzene (DVB) on the nature and efficiency of grafting of two different monomers, glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and maleic anhydride (MA) on polypropylene (P) and on natural rubber (NR) using reactive processing methods. Four different peroxides, benzoyl peroxide (BPO), dicumyl peroxide (DCP), 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-bis-(tert-butyl peroxy) hexane (t-101), and 1,1-di(tert-butylperoxy)-3,3,5-trimethyl cyclohexene (T-29B90) were examined as free radical initiators. An appropriate methodology was established and chemical composition and reactive processing parameters were examined and optimised. It was found that in the absence of the coagents DVB and TRIS, the grafting degree of GMA and MA increased with increasing peroxide concentration, but the level of grafting was low and the homopolymerisaton of GMA and the crosslinking of NR or chain scission of PP were identified as the main side reactions that competed with the desired grafting reaction in the polymers. At high concentrations of the peroxide T-101 (>0.02 mr) cross linking of NR and chain scission of PP became dominant and unacceptable. An attempt to add a reactive coagent, e.g. TRIS during grafting of GMA on natural rubber resulted in excessive crosslinking because of the very high reactivity of this comonomer with the C=C of the rubber. Therefore, the use of any multifunctional and highly reactive coagent such as TRIS, could not be applied in the grafting of GAM onto natural rubber. In the case of PP, however, the use of TRIS and DVB was shown to greatly enhance the grafting degree and reduce the chain scission with very little extent of monomer homopolymerisation taking place. The results showed that the grafting degree was increased with increasing GMA and MA concentrations. It was also found that T-101 was a suitable peroxide to initiate the grafting reaction of these monomers on NR and PP and the optimum temperature for this peroxide was =160°C. A very preliminary work was also conducted on the use of the functionalised-PP (f-PP) in the absence and presence of the two comonomers (f-PP-DVB or f-PP-TRIS) for the purpose of compatibilising PP-PBT blends through reactive blending. Examination of the morphology of the blends suggested that an effective compatibilisation has been achieved when using f-PP-DVB and f-PP-TRIS, however more work is required in this area.
Date of Award2007
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSahar Al-Malaika (Supervisor)


  • Functionalisation of polymers
  • reactive processing
  • structure and performance characteristics

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