The effect of organic peroxides on the molecular composition of heterophasic ethylene-propylene impact copolymers

Magagula, Sifiso Innocent (2015-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Heterophasic ethylene-propylene copolymers, also known as impact polypropylene (PP) copolymers (IPCs) or heterophasic copolymers (HECOs), are a unique group of polyolefins produced through the copolymerisation of ethylene and propylene, with the aim of improving the impact properties of the PP homopolymer at low temperatures. Therefore, this polymer comprises of a PP homopolymer matrix with a dispersed rubbery copolymer phase. Due to their unique properties, HECO polymers have become commercially important materials, with a wide range of applications. Therefore a fundamental understanding of the processes and chemistry that affects their final macroscopic properties needs to be expanded. The main focus of this investigation was to understand why specific organic peroxides influence or interact differently with the various phases of HECO polymers, in order to utilize their properties to obtain HECO polymers with optimal and desired properties. Two HECO polymers with different ethylene contents were fractionated into three fractions (30, 100 and 130 °C), using preparative temperature rising elution fractionation (P-TREF). Each individual TREF fraction was degraded with two different types of organic peroxides, and then characterised using four different analytical tools. The changes in the molecular structures of the different fractions were investigated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The changes in comonomer sequence distributions were investigated by carbon 13 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (13C-NMR). Moreover, the degradation of the different fractions was investigated by high temperature size exclusion chromatography (HT-SEC). The investigation showed that the HECO polymers with different ethylene contents were uniquely altered. It was evident that the ethylene content influenced the degradation behaviour of the HECO polymers. The ability of the peroxide to affect certain regions of the HECO polymer more than others is highly dependent upon its miscibility with certain regions of the HECO polymers. The “visbreaking” efficiency of a specific organic peroxide appears to be primarily dependent on the number of “peroxy” groups it contains in its molecular structure. Stellenbosch University https://scholar.sun.ac.za

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Heterofase etileen-propileen ko-polimere, ook bekend as impak PP ko-polimere (IPCS) of heterofase ko-polimere (HECO), is 'n unieke groep poliolefiene geproduseer deur die ko-polimerisasie van etileen en propileen, met die doel op die verbetering in die impak eienskappe van die PP homopolimeer by lae temperature. Hierdie polimeer bestaan dus uit 'n PP homopolimeer matriks met 'n verspreide rubberagtige ko-polimeer fase. As gevolg van hul unieke eienskappe, is HECO polimere van kommersiële belang, met 'n wye verskeidenheid van toepassings. 'n Fundamentele begrip van die prosesse en chemie wat die finale makroskopiese eienskappe beïnvloed moet dus uitgebrei word. Die hooffokus van hierdie ondersoek was om te verstaan waarom spesifieke organiese peroksiede verskillende invloede en interaksies met die verskillende fases van HECO polimere het, om sodoende van hul eienskappe gebruik te maak om HECO polimere te verkry met optimale en gewenste eienskappe. Twee HECO polimere met verskillende etileen inhoud was gefraksioneer in drie fraksies (30, 100 en 130 °C), met behulp van preparatiewe temperatuur styging eluering fraksionering (P-TREF). Elke individuele TREF fraksie was gedegradeer met twee verskillende tipes organiese peroksiede en daarna gekarakteriseer deur vier verskillende analitiese metodes. Die veranderinge in molekulêre strukture van die verskillende fraksies was geondersoek met behulp van Fourier transform infrarooi spektroskopie (FTIR) en differensiële skandering kalorimetrie (DSC). Die veranderinge in ko-monomeer volgorde distribusie was bestudeer deur middel van kern magnetiese resonans spektroskopie (KMR). Verder was die degradasie van die verskillende fraksies met behulp van hoë temperatuur grootte uitsluitingschromatografie (HT-SEC) bestudeer. Die ondersoek het getoon dat die HECO polimere met verskillende etileen inhoud uniek gedegradeer was. Dus is dit duidelik genoeg dat die etileen inhoud die degradasie gedrag van die HECO polimere beïnvloed het. Die vermoë van die peroksied om sekere areas van die HECO polimeer meer as ander te beïnvloed is hoogs afhanklik van die mengbaarheid met sekere areas van die HECO polimere. Die "visbreking" doeltreffendheid van 'n spesifieke organiese peroksiede is meestal afhanklik van die aantal "peroksie" groepe in die molekulêre struktuur.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97850
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