Degradation of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Model Compounds Under Extreme Environmental Conditions

Authors

  • Francesca Bennet,

    1. Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry, Institut für Technische Chemie und Polymerchemie, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany
    2. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
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  • Gene Hart-Smith,

    1. Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry, Institut für Technische Chemie und Polymerchemie, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany
    2. UNSW Analytical Centre, Chemical Sciences Building, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Till Gruendling,

    1. Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry, Institut für Technische Chemie und Polymerchemie, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany
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  • Thomas P. Davis,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
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  • Philip J. Barker,

    1. BlueScope Steel Research, PO Box 202, Port Kembla, NSW 2505, Australia
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  • Christopher Barner-Kowollik

    Corresponding author
    1. Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry, Institut für Technische Chemie und Polymerchemie, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany
    • Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry, Institut für Technische Chemie und Polymerchemie, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany. Fax: (+49) 721 608 5740
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Errata

This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Degradation of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Model Compounds Under Extreme Environmental Conditions Volume 211, Issue 13, 1496, Article first published online: 22 June 2010

Abstract

There is a significant knowledge gap in the degradation of poly(methyl methacrylate) (pMMA) under conditions experienced by surface coatings in the harsh Australian environment. In the current study pMMA model compounds were exposed to 95 °C temperatures and high UV radiation (1 kW · m−2), separately as well as in combination. Contrary to the findings of previous studies, degradation proceeds in these conditions via a non-radical cyclic mechanism. The mechanism was further confirmed by synthesis and degradation of ethylene-oxide-terminated pMMA, an intermediate product in the cycle. Electrospray ionisation mass spectrometry analysis of thermally degraded samples after 155 weeks shows degradation consistent with the proposed cycle in vinyl-terminated pMMA, while saturated pMMA was shown to be stable after the same period. Saturation delayed the UV-induced degradation, yet these compounds still displayed some slight degradation after 52 weeks, confirming the terminal vinyl bond in pMMA as a weak point. Combined UV and thermal radiation after 56 weeks showed degradation of both pMMA samples, with the vinyl-terminated sample also exhibiting crosslinking. The combination of thermal and UV radiation also caused acceleration of degradation, shown by a comparison of the polymer samples after ≈60 weeks.

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