Oxidation studies of a novel barrier polymer system
The thermal oxidation of two model compounds representing the aromatic polyamide, MXD6 (poly m-xylylene adipamide) have been investigated. The model compounds (having different chemical structures, viz, one corresponding to the aromatic part of the chain and the other to the aliphatic part), based on the structure of MXD6 were prepared and reactions with different concentrations of cobalt ions examined with the aim of identifying the role of the different structural components of MXD6 on the mechanism of oxidation. The study showed that cobalt, in the presence of sodium phosphite (which acts as an antioxidant for MXD6 and the model compounds), increases the oxidation of the model compounds. It is believed that the cobalt acts predominantly as a catalyst for the decomposition of hydroperoxides, formed during oxidation of the models in the melt phase, to free radical products and to a lesser extent as a catalyst for the initiation of the oxidation reaction by complex formation with the amide, which is more likely to take place in the solid phase. An oxidation cycle has been proposed consisting of two parts both of which will occur, to some extent under all conditions of oxidation (in the melt and in the solid phase), but their individual predominance must be determined by the prevailing oxygen pressure at the reaction site. The different aspects of this proposed mechanism were examined from extensive model compound studies, and the evidence based on the nature of product formation and the kinetics of these reactions. Main techniques used to compare the rates of oxidation and the study of kinetics included, oxygen absorption, FT-IR, UV and TGA. HPLC was used for product separation and identification.