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Degradation of Poly(methyl methacrylate) Model Compounds at Constant Elevated Temperature Studied via High Resolution Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ESI-MS)

Authors

  • Francesca Bennet,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Tara M. Lovestead,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 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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  • Thomas P. Davis,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Martina H. Stenzel,

    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
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  • Christopher Barner-Kowollik

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
    • Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design, School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
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Abstract

The products of the thermal degradation at 95 °C over 10 months of ω-saturated and non-saturated poly(methyl methacrylate) (pMMA) model compounds were identified with high accuracy via quadrupole ion trap and quadrupole ion trap-time of flight (Q-ToF) mass spectrometry. Analysis of the samples taken via these techniques indicated that degradation of vinyl terminated pMMA proceeds via the incorporation of oxygen via the formation of ethylene oxide type end groups, which subsequently rearrange under the expulsion of formaldehyde and 2-oxo-propionic acid methyl ester. The corresponding saturated model compounds were demonstrated to be stable over the same time period. The present findings highlight for the first time that poly(methyl methacrylate) degradation does not necessarily and exclusively proceed via radical intermediates.

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