Effect of electron-beam irradiation on ethylene–methyl acrylate copolymer



Ethylene–methyl acrylate copolymer (Elvaloy 1330) was irradiated by an electron beam at different levels of radiation both in the presence and absence of a trimethylolpropane trimethacrylate sensitizer at various dosages of incorporation. The mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of these samples were compared. The mechanical properties were observed to reach an optimum maximum around 6 Mrad of irradiation and 1 phr of sensitizer incorporation. Furthermore, an increase in either the radiation dose or the sensitizer level helped very little to further modify the properties. The thermal properties as determined by the thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry studies were quite supportive of the observation made during the study of the mechanical properties. The thermal stability of the irradiated samples underwent an increase with increasing electron-beam dosage. In a manner similar to those of the mechanical properties, the increase in thermal stability was found to reach a maximum at a particular level of treatment and sensitizer incorporation, beyond which there was marginal or no effect at all. The α transition temperature underwent a substantial increase with increasing crosslink density, as evidenced by the increase in gel content with increasing proportion of electron-beam radiation dose. The other glass-transition temperature, however, appeared to remain unaffected. The electrical properties, as described by the dielectric constant, volume resistivity, and breakdown voltage, appeared to be affected very little by the electron-beam radiation. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2009