Polymer Degradation and Stability
The thermal degradation of polystyrene, high-impact polystyrene, ABS terpolymer, poly(methyl methacrylate), polypropylene and polyethylene nanocomposites has been studied using thermogravimetric analysis coupled to Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, TGA/FT-IR. The nanocomposites that have been studied include immiscible, intercalated and exfoliated systems and the evolved gases do not depend upon the type of nanocomposite and are qualitatively similar to those of the virgin polymer. In the case of the styrenics, the presence of clay promotes the production of oligomer, rather than monomer. It is suggested that this change in evolved products may offer an explanation for why some polymers give large reduction in peak heat release rates while others give much smaller reductions. According to this notion, any polymer that undergoes degradation to produce both oligomer and monomer should give a large reduction in peak heat release rate.
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