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Title: Reactive processing methods for functionalisation of polymers and in-situ compatibilisation of poly(ethylene terephthalate)-based blends
Author: Kong, Wei
Awarding Body: Aston University
Current Institution: Aston University
Date of Award: 2001
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One of the main objectives of this study was to functionalise various rubbers (i.e. ethylene propylene copolymer (EP), ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM), and natural rubber (NR)) using functional monomers, maleic anhydride (MA) and glycidyl methacrylate (GMA), via reactive processing routes. The functionalisation of the rubber was carried out via different reactive processing methods in an internal mixer. GMA was free-radically grafted onto EP and EPDM in the melt state in the absence and presence of a comonomer, trimethylolpropane triacrylate (TRlS). To optinuse the grafting conditions and the compositions, the effects of various paranleters on the grafting yields and the extent of side reactions were investigated. Precipitation method and Soxhlet extraction method was established to purifY the GMA modified rubbers and the grafting degree was determined by FTIR and titration. It was found that without TRlS the grafting degree of GMA increased with increasing peroxide concentration. However, grafting was low and the homopolymerisation of GMA and crosslinking of the polymers were identified as the main side reactions competing with the desired grafting reaction for EP and EPDM, respectively. The use of the tri-functional comonomer, TRlS, was shown to greatly enhance the GMA grafting and reduce the side reactions in terms of the higher GMA grafting degree, less alteration of the rheological properties of the polymer substrates and very little formation of polyGMA. The grafting mechanisms were investigated. MA was grafted onto NR using both thermal initiation and peroxide initiation. The results showed clearly that the reaction of MA with NR could be thermally initiated above 140°C in the absence of peroxide. At a preferable temperature of 200°C, the grafting degree was increased with increasing MA concentration. The grafting reaction could also be initiated with peroxide. It was found that 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-bis(ter-butylproxy) hexane (TIOI) was a suitable peroxide to initiate the reaction efficiently above 150°C. The second objective of the work was to utilize the functionalised rubbers in a second step to achieve an in-situ compatibilisation of blends based on poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), in particular, with GMA-grafted-EP and -EPDM and the reactive blending was carried out in an internal mixer. The effects of GMA grafting degree, viscosities of GMAgrafted- EP and -EPDM and the presence of polyGMA in the rubber samples on the compatibilisation of PET blends in terms of morphology, dynamical mechanical properties and tensile properties were investigated. It was found that the GMA modified rubbers were very efficient in compatibilising the PET blends and this was supported by the much finer morphology and the better tensile properties. The evidence obtained from the analysis of the PET blends strongly supports the existence of the copolymers through the interfacial reactions between the grafted epoxy group in the GMA modified rubber and the terminal groups of PET in the blends.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chemical Engineering ; Applied Chemistry ; Chemical Engineering Chemistry, Physical and theoretical Elastomers Elastomers