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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  

Two standard vinylidene chloride copolymers, the first containing approximately 9 mass% methyl acrylate and the second containing vinyl chloride at a nominal 15 mass% were prepared by radical suspension techniques using a series of peroxide and azo initiators (all of approximately the same half-life temperature for decomposition). The nature of the initiator could impact the stability of the resulting polymer in two ways. Instability could be introduced either via end-group effects or by attack of residual initiator fragments on the finished polymer during isolation and residual monomer stripping. In this case, the relative thermal stability of the resins produced was assessed by exposing samples to heat and shear in an air environment in a two-roll mill (Brabender Prep-Mill). The rate and extent of degradation was most readily apparent from color development during this treatment. The more thermally stable polymers were produced using initiator radicals that did not attack the polymer during isolation/stripping processes.

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Abstract  

Vinylidene chloride polymers are prominent in the barrier plastics packaging industry. They display good barrier to the transport of oxygen (to prevent spoilage of food items) and flavor and aroma constituents (to prevent 'scalping' on the supermarket shelf). However, these polymers undergo thermal dehydrochlorination during processing. This can lead to a variety of problems including the evolution of hydrogen chloride which must be scavenged to prevent its interaction with the metallic walls of process equipment. Such interaction leads to the formation of metal halides which act as Lewis acids to facilitate the degradation. A potentially effective means to capture hydrogen chloride generated might be to incorporate into the polymer a mild organic base. Accordingly, copolymers of vinylidene chloride and 4-vinylpyridine have been prepared and subjected to thermal aging. Results suggest that the pyridine moiety is sufficiently basic to actively promote dehydrochlorination in the vinylidene chloride segments of the polymer.

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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 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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Abstract  

Vinylidene chloride copolymers containing a predominance of vinylidene chloride (85-90%) have long been important barrier polymers widely used in the plastics packaging industry. These materials display excellent barrier to the ingress of oxygen and other small molecules (to prevent food spoilage) and to the loss of food flavor and aroma constituents (to prevent flavor scalping on the supermarket shelf). While these polymers have many outstanding characteristics, which have made them commercial successes, they tend to undergo thermally-induced degradative dehydrohalogenation at process temperatures. The dehydrochlorination occurs at moderate temperatures (120-200C) and is a typical chain process involving initiation, propagation and termination phases. Defect structures, namely internal unsaturation (allylic dichloromethylene groups), serve as initiation sites for the degradation. These may be introduced during polymerization or during subsequent isolation and drying procedures. If uncontrolled, sequential dehydrohalogenation can lead to the formation of conjugated polyene sequences along the polymer mainchain. If sufficiently large, these polyenes absorb in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and give rise to discoloration of the polymer. The dehydrochlorination process may be conveniently monitored by thermogravimetric techniques. Both initiation and propagation rate constants may be readily obtained.

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