Currently, hindered phenol (HP) antioxidants mixed in PP products provide thermal-oxidative protection during PP melt processing (homogeneous mixing). However, there are concerns about their effectiveness during applications. This paper presents computer simulation and experimental results to demonstrate a facile phase separation of HP molecules in the PP matrix and investigates a new approach that can dramatically improve PP thermal-oxidative stability under elevated temperatures. This technology is centered on a new PP-HP copolymer containing a few comonomer units with HP moieties, homogeneously distributed along the polymer chain. Because of the cocrystallization between the PP and PP-HP copolymer, all HP antioxidant groups are homogeneously distributed in the PP matrix (amorphous domains). The resulting PP/PP-HP blends demonstrate a thermal-oxidative stability nearly proportional to the HP content. While commercial PP products (containing regular antioxidants and stabilizers) degrade within a few minutes at 210 °C in air, the PP/PP-HP blend, with the same concentration of HP groups, demonstrates nearly no detectable weight loss after 1000 h. In an ASTM endurance test under a targeted application temperature (140 °C in air), the commercial PP shows 1% weight loss within 10 days. On the other hand, the new PP/PP-HP (5/1) blend with the same HP content lasts for about 2 years under the same constant heating condition. Overall, the experiment results of the PP-HP antioxidant present the potential of expanding PP applications into a far higher temperature range (>140 °C) under thermal-oxidative environments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Organic Chemistry
- Polymers and Plastics
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Materials Chemistry