Authors:Vadim V. Krongauz, Yann-Per Lee, and Anthony Bourassa
Extensively studied thermal degradation of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) occurs with formation of free hydrogen chloride and conjugated double bonds absorbing light in visible region. Thermogravimetric monitoring of PVC blends degradation kinetics by the loss of HCl is often complicated by evaporation and degradation of plasticizers and additives. Spectroscopic PVC degradation kinetics monitoring by absorbance of forming conjugated polyenes is specific and should not be affected by plasticizers loss. The kinetics of isothermal degradation monitored by thermal gravimetric analysis in real time was compared with batch data obtained by UV/Visible absorption spectroscopy. Effects of plasticizer on kinetics of polyene formation were examined. Thermal degradation of PVC films plasticized with di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and 1,2,4-benzenedicarboxylic acid, tri-(3-ethylhexyl) ester (TOTM) was monitored by conjugated double bonds light absorption at 350 nm at 160, 180, and 200 °C. Plasticizer-free PVC powder degradation kinetics and that of plasticized films were also obtained thermogravimetrically at temperatures ranging from 160 to 220 °C. Plasticizer-free PVC powder degradation and spectroscopically monitored degradation of plasticized PVC films occurred with the same apparent activation energy of ≈150 kJ mol−1. No difference in degradation kinetics of films plasticized with DEHP and TOTM was detected.