Author: B. Howell 1
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  • 1 Central Michigan University Center for Applications in Polymer Science Mt. pleasant MI 48859-0001 USA
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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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Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry
Language English
Size A4
Year of
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Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
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Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
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CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
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ISSN 1388-6150 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2926 (Online)