Get access

Study on the degradation of low-density polyethylene in the presence of cobalt stearate and benzil



Degradable polymers are in great demand for a variety of applications such as packaging, agriculture, and medicine. Polyolefins blended with photodegradants/biodegradants are potential candidates for replacing the nondegradable thermoplastics in areas where litter abatement poses problems. In the present article, the effect of metallic photoinitiators like cobalt stearate and a combination of metallic/nonmetallic photoinitiators, i.e., a mixture of cobalt stearate and benzil, on the photooxidative degradation of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films have been investigated. Attempts have been made to correlate the results as a function of mixed additives. Films of LDPE containing varying amounts of cobalt stearate and a combination of benzil and cobalt stearate were prepared. The photodegradation of these films has been monitored by various techniques like FTIR spectroscopy, differential thermal analysis, and density and viscosity measurements. Cobalt stearate was highly effective in accelerating the photodegradation of LDPE films at low concentrations. The addition of benzil to cobalt stearate decreased the rate of photodegradation compared to cobalt stearate alone. A retarding effect was observed when benzil alone was added to LDPE. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci 99: 236–243, 2006