Polymer Degradation and Stability
Thermogravimetric analysis coupled to Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, TGA/FTIR, has been used to probe the degradation of several polymeric systems. These include poly(methyl methacrylate) in the presence of various additives, graft copolymers of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene and styrene-butadiene with sodium methacrylate and styrene with acrylonitrile, blends of styrene-butadiene block copolymers with poly(vinylphosphonic acid) and poly(vinylsulfonic acid), and cross-linked polystyrenes. Additives may interact with poly(methyl methacrylate) by coordination to the carbonyl oxygen to a Lewis acid and the subsequent transfer of an electron from the polymer chain to the metal atom or by the formation of a radical which can trap the degrading radicals before they can undergo further degradation. When an inorganic char-former is graft copolymerized onto a polymer, there is a good correlation between TGA behavior in an inert atmosphere and thermal stability in air, but this is not true when the char is largely carbonific.