The mechanisms of melt stabilisation of polyolefins

  • Rouhallah Bagheri

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The effects of melt stabilisers on the oxidative degradation of polyolefins
(polypropylene, low density polyethylene) have been studied under a variety of processing conditions . The changes in the both chemical and physical properties of unstabilised polymers occurring during processing were found to be strongly dependent on the amount of oxygen present in the mixer.
2 ,6 ,3' ,5' -tetra-tert-butyl-4'-phenoxy-4-methylene-2, 5-cyclohexadiene-1-
one (galvinoxyl), iodine, nitroxyl radicals and cupric stearate were found to be very efficient melt stabilisers particularly when processed in a restricted amount of air. The mechanisms of their melt stabilising action have been investigated and a common cyclical regenerative mechanism involving both chain-breaking electron acceptor (CB-A) and chain-breaking electron donor (CB-D) antioxidant activity was found to be involved in each case.
2,6,3',5'-tetra-tert-butyl-4'-hydroxy phenyl-4-rrethylene-2,5-cyclohexadiene-
1-one (hydrogalvinoxy1), 4-hydroxy, 2,2,6, 6-tetra methyl-N-hydroxy piperidine and hydrogen iodide were formed together with olefinic unsaturation in the substrates during the melt processing of the polymers containing galvinoxyl, 4-hydroxy, 2,2,6, 6-tetra methyl piperidine oxyl and iodine respectively.
No bonding of the melt stabilisers to the polymers was found to occur. Cupric stearate was found to undergo a similar redox reaction during its action as a melt stabiliser with the formation of unsaturation in the polymer. Evidence for the above processes is presented.
The behaviours of melt stabilisers in the subsequent thermal and photooxidation
of polyolefins have also been studied.
Galvinoxyl which is very effective under both mild and severe processing
canditions has been found to be an effective antioxidant during thermal oxidation (oven ageing) and it is also moderately good. as a photo-stabiliser. Iodine and cupric stearate acted efficiently during melt stabilisation of polymers, however they were both ineffective as thermo-oxidative antioxidants and UV stabilisers. Although the melt stabilisation effectiveness of stable nitroxyl radicals (e.g. 4-hydroxy, 2,2,6,6-tetra methyl piperidineoxyl and Bis- (2,2,6 ,6-tetra methyl-4-
piperidinyl-N-oxyl) sebacate) is not as high as that of galvinoxyl during processing particularly in excess of air, they have been found to be much more efficient as UV stabilisers for polyolefins. The reasons for this are discussed.
Date of AwardNov 1981
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKhirud B. Chakraborty (Supervisor) & Gerald Scott (Supervisor)


  • polyolefins
  • melt degradation
  • melt stabilisation
  • photo-stabilisation
  • regenerative antioxidants

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