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Natural weather, soil burial and sea water ageing of low-density polyethylene: Effect of starch/linear low-density polyethylene masterbatch

Authors

  • M. Elanmugilan,

    1. Rubber Technology Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur-721302, West Bengal, India
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  • P. A. Sreekumar,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    2. Department of Chemical and Process Engineering Technology, Jubail Industrial College, Al-Jubail, 31961, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    • Department of Chemical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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  • N. K. Singha,

    1. Rubber Technology Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur-721302, West Bengal, India
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  • Mamdouh A. Al-Harthi,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
    2. Center of Research Excellence in Petroleum Refining and Petrochemicals (CoRE-PRP), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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  • S. K. De

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
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Abstract

Degradation of the blends of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) with a starch-based additive namely, polystarch N was studied under various environmental conditions such as natural weather, soil and sea water in Saudi Arabia. Stress–strain properties and thermal behavior were investigated for the LDPE and LDPE/polystarch N blend having 40% (w/w) of polystarch N. Environmental ageing resulted in the reduction of percentage of elongation and crystallinity for the blend. Rheological studies and scanning electron microscope photomicrographs of the polymer samples retrieved after ageing showed that addition of polystarch N enhanced the degradation of LDPE. This is ascribed to high extent of chain scission and leaching out of starch present in polystarch N, which was corroborated by the results of morphology and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analyses. In the case of underground soil ageing, microbes present in the soil consume the starch in the blend, thus accelerating the degradation process. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013

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