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Keywords:

  • polyethylene (PE);
  • extrusion;
  • mechanical properties;
  • antioxidants;
  • FTIR

Abstract

The properties of two polyethylenes [a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and a low-density polyethylene (LDPE)] were studied after several extrusion cycles. To reduce the degradation effects during the reprocessing, a mixture of two stabilizers was added to the formulations. The predominant degradation mechanism was chain scission for the HDPE and chain branching and crosslinking for the LDPE. For both polyethylenes the FTIR spectra exhibited a growth in the number of carbonyl groups as a function of the number of extrusion cycles. Their tensile properties were degraded with the reprocessing but both polyethylenes maintained their nearly constant thermal behavior and crystallinity. The addition of a primary phenolic antioxidant and a secondary phosphite antioxidant preserved the melt behavior of virgin materials after the reprocessing and reduced the degradation effects. From the tensile tests, the efficiency of the antioxidants in the LDPE was very high and, after the reprocessing, the material retained the mechanical properties of virgin LDPE. The efficiency of the antioxidants for the HDPE was not significant. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 92: 3910–3916, 2004