A Mechanism for Flame Retardation of Poly(Ethylene Terephthalate)
Journal of Applied Polymer Science
The thermolysis of vinyl methylterephthalate has been studied as a model of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) thermolysis. Based upon this reaction, a potential mechanism for PET flame retardation is proposed. The assumption is made, based upon firm experimental evidence, that the initial step in PET degradation is formation of a vinyl ester and a carboxylic acid. The essentials of the mechanism are that this vinyl ester participates in a vinyl polymerization reaction and produces a linear polymer. This linear polymer then is involved in a chain‐stripping reaction with the loss of methylterephthalate and the concomitant formation of a polyene. In the last step, this polyene undergoes a cyclization reaction and yields a crosslinked product. There are two stages at which PET undergoes crosslinking: In the second step the linear vinyl polymer is produced; in the last step ultimate crosslinking with the formation of cyclic structure is observed.