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Polymer Degradation and Stability

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The thermal degradation of polycarbonate under nitrogen was studied using TGA/FTIR, GC/MS and LC/MS as a function of mass loss. The gases evolved during degradation were inspected by in situ FTIR and then the evolved products were collected and analysed using FTIR, GC–MS and LC–MS. The structures of the evolved products are assigned on the basis of FTIR and GC/MS results. The main thermal degradation pathways follow chain scission of the isopropylidene linkage, and hydrolysis/alcoholysis and rearrangement of carbonate linkages. In the case of chain scission, it was proposed that methyl scission of isopropylidene occurs first, according to the bond dissociation energies. The presence of carbonate structures, 1,1′-bis(4-hydroxyl phenyl) ethane and bisphenol A in significant amounts, supports the view that chain scission and hydrolysis/alcoholysis are the main degradation pathways for the formation of the evolved products.


Accepted version. Polymer Degradation and Stability, Vol. 86, No. 3 (December 2004): 419-430. DOI. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. Used with permission.

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