Reactive processing of polyolefins using antioxidant systems

  • N. S. Suharty

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Various monoacrylic compounds containing a hindered phenol function (e.g.3,5-di-tert.-butyl-4-hydroxy benzyl alcohol, DBBA and vinyl-3-[3',5'-di-tert.-butyl-4-hydroxy phenyl] propionate, VDBP), and a benzophenone function (2-hydroxy-4-[beta hydroxy ethoxy] benzophenone, HAEB) were synthesised and used as reactive antioxidants (AO's) for polypropylene (PP). These compounds were reacted with PP melt in the presence of low concentration of a free radical generator such a peroxide (reactive processing) to produce bound-antioxidant concentrates. The binding reaction of these AO's onto PP was found to be low and this was shown to be mainly due to competing reactions such as homopolymerisation of the antioxidant. At high concentrations of peroxide, higher binding efficiency resulted, but, this was accompanied by melt degradation of the polymer. In a special reactive processing procedure, a di- or a trifunctional reactant (referred to as coagent), e.g.tri-methylol propane tri-acrylate, Tris, and Divinyl benzene, DVB, were used with the antioxidant and this has led to an enhanced efficiency of the grating reaction of antioxidants on the polymer in the melt. The evidence suggests that this is due to copolymerisation of the antioxidants with the coagent as well as grafting of the copolymers onto the polymer backbone.
Although the 'bound' AO's containing a UV stabilising function showed lower overall stabilisation effect than the unbound analogues before extraction, they were still much more effective when subjected to exhaustive solvent extraction. Furthermore, a very effective synergistic stabilising activity when two reactive AO's containing thermal and UV stabilising functions e.g. DBBA and HAEB, were reactively processed with PP in the presence of a coagent. The stabilising effectiveness of such a synergist was much higher than that of the unbound analogues both before and after extraction.
Analysis using the GPC technique of concentrates containing bound-DBBA processed in the presence of Tris coagent showed higher molecular weight (Mn), compared to that of a polymer processed without the coagent, but was still lower than that of the control processed PP with no additives. This indicates that Tris coagent may inhibit further melt degradation of the polymer. Model reactions of DBBA in liquid hydrocarbon (decalin) and analysis of the products using FTIR and NMR spectroscopy showed the formation of grafted DBBA onto decalin molecules as well as homopolymerisation of the AO. In the presence of Tris coagent, copolymerisation of DBBA with the Tris inevitably occured; which was followed by grafting of the copolymer onto the decalin, FTIR and NMR results of the polymer concentrates containing bound-DBBA processed with and without Tris, showed similar behaviour as the above model reactions. This evidence supports the
effect of Tris in enhancing the efficiency of the reaction of DBBA in the polymer melt. Reactive procesing of HAEB in polymer melts exhibited crosslinking formation In the early stages of the reaction, however, in the final stage, the crosslinked structure was 'broken down' or rearranged to give an almost gel free polymer with high antioxidant binding efficiency.
Date of AwardMar 1993
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSahar Al-Malaika (Supervisor)


  • reactive antioxidants
  • reactive processing
  • bound antioxidants
  • antioxidant concentrates

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