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  • Author or Editor: Adeyinka Odelana x
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Vinylidene chloride copolymers are prominent in the barrier plastic packaging industry. These materials display excellent barrier to the transport of oxygen (and other small molecules) as well as flavor and aroma molecules. However, they suffer from a propensity to undergo degradative dehydrochlorination at process temperatures. To scavenge hydrogen chloride formed and prevent its interaction with the metallic components of process equipment, a passive base is usually included as an additive prior to processing. The base is most often an inorganic oxide or salt. These may negatively impact the properties of the polymer, particularly as a film. An organic base that could be covalently incorporated into the copolymer might display better behavior. Accordingly, a series of copolymers containing low levels of 4-vinylpyridine (0.05–3 mole%) have been prepared, characterized, and examined by thermogravimetry to assess thermal stability. In all cases, polymers containing 4-vinylpyridine units are less stable than the polymer containing none of this comonomer. Clearly, the pyridine moiety is a sufficiently strong base to promote E2 elimination of hydrogen chloride to generate dichlormethylene units in the mainchain from which thermal degradation may be initiated.

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