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Abstract  

Vinylidene chloride polymers containing comonomer units capable of consuming evolved hydrogen chloride to expose good radical-scavenging sites might be expected to display greater thermal stability than similar polymers containing simple alkyl acrylates as comonomer. Incorporation of a comonomer containing the phenyl t-butyl carbonate moiety into a vinylidene chloride polymer has the potential to afford a polymer with pendant groups which might interact with hydrogen chloride to expose phenolic groups. Copolymers of vinylidene chloride with [4-(t-butoxycarbonyloxy)phenyl]methyl acrylate have been prepared, characterized, and subjected to thermal degradation. The degradation has been characterized by thermal and spectroscopic techniques. The degradation of vinylidene chloride/[4-(t-butoxycarbonyloxy)phenyl]methyl acrylate copolymers is much more facile than the same process for similar copolymers containing either [4-(isobutoxycarbonyloxy)phenyl]methyl acrylate or methyl acrylate, a simple alkyl acrylate, as comonomer. During copolymer degradation, [4-(t-butoxycarbonyloxy) phenylmethyl acrylate units are apparently converted to acrylic acid units by extensive fragmentation of the sidechain. Thus, the phenyl t-butyl carbonate moiety does function as a labile acid-sensitive pendant group but its decomposition in this instance leads to the generation of a phenoxybenzyl carboxylate capable of further fragmentation.

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Abstract  

Thermogravimetry is often used to study polymer degradation. Most often the information obtained may have some practical application but is of limited value for the determination of fundamental processes which may be occurring. A kinetic expression or activation parameters for a complex process which may involve consecutive or parallel reactions provides almost no information about any of the reactions that might be occurring. However, for single, well-defined processes, thermogravimetry, in conjugation with other analytical methods, can be effectively utilized in the determination of reaction mechanism. The thermal degradation of vinylidene chloride barrier polymers corresponds to the elimination of hydrogen chloride initiated at an allylic dichloromethylene unit in the mainchain. This process is uncomplicated by competing reactions. Thermogravimetry may be utilized to obtain meaningful rate constants and activation parameters for the degradation. This in conjunction with mass spectral analysis of evolved gas, characterization of both the polymer and degradation residue by ultraviolet, infrared and 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy, and the study of model compounds has permitted a detailed description of the degradation process. General purpose poly(styrene) is a commodity polymer widely used in the food packaging industry as well as many others. If processed at excessively high temperature, it undergoes thermal degradation to expel styrene monomer which can impart negative flavor and aroma characteristics to packaged food items. The degradation reaction has been fully detailed using thermogravimetry in conjugation with evolved gas analysis, size exclusion chromatography and NMR spectroscopy.

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Abstract  

As a consequence of their excellent barrier properties vinyl chloride/vinylidene chloride copolymers have long been prominent in the flexible packaging market. While these polymers possess a number of superior characteristics, they tend to undergo thermally- induced degradative dehydrochlorination at process temperatures. This degradation must be controlled to permit processing of the polymers. Three series of N-substituted maleimides (N-alkyl-, N-aralkyl, and N-aryl) have been synthesized, characterized spectroscopically, and evaluated as potential stabilizers for a standard vinyl chloride/vinylidene chloride (85 mass%) copolymer. As surface blends with the polymer, these compounds are ineffective as stabilizers. However, significant stabilization may be achieved by pretreatment of the polymer with N-substituted maleimides. The most effective stabilization of the polymer is afforded by N-aralkyl- or N-arylmaleimides, most notably, N-benzylmaleimide and N-p-methoxyphenylmaleimide.

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Abstract  

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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Abstract  

Vinylidene chloride copolymers have a number of superior properties, most notably, a high barrier to the transport of oxygen and other small molecules. As a consequence, these materials have assumed a position of prominence in the packaging industry. At processing temperatures these copolymers tend to undergo degradative dehydrochlorination. The dehydrochlorination reaction is a typical chain process with distinct initiation, propagation, and termination phases. It has been demonstrated that initiation of degradation is strongly facilitated by the presence of unsaturation along the backbone. Such unsaturation may be introduced via interaction of the polymer with a variety of agents which might commonly be encountered during polymerization or processing. The presence of an unsaturated unit within the polymer generates an allylic dichloromethylene which may function as a major defect (labile) site for the initiation of degradation. The conversion of these dichloromethylene units into non-reactive groups would interrupt propagation of the dehydrochlorination reaction and lead to the stabilization of the copolymer. Potential stabilization in the presence of metal formates has been examined using a vinylidene chloride/methyl acrylate (five mole percent) copolymer and thermogravimetric techniques. The effect of the metal formate on the stability of the polymer reflects the relative halogenophilicity of the metal cation present. Metal formates (sodium, calcium, nickel(II) and to a lesser extent lead(II), cadmium, manganese(II) and magnesium) may be expected to be ineffective as stabilizers for vinylidene chloride copolymers. At the other extreme, metal formates which contain cations sufficiently acidic to actively strip chlorine from the polymer backbone, e.g., zinc formate, will function to enhance the degradation process. An effective carboxylate stabilizer must contain a metal cation sufficiently acidic to interact with allylic chlorine and to facilitate its displacement by the carboxylate anion. Copper(II) formate may possess the balance of cation acidity and carboxylate activity to function as an effective stabilizer for vinylidene chloride copolymers.

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