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Multidimensional Analytical Techniques for Studying the Thermo-Oxidative Degradation of Impact Poly(propylene)



Summary: Impact poly(propylene) copolymers (ICPP) are complex polymer systems containing various types of ethylene-propylene copolymers as well as the majority poly(propylene) phase. In this study, multidimensional analytical techniques are applied to study the thermo-oxidative degradation of these complex materials. The combination of size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and FTIR via an LC-transform interface allows for the identification and tracking of the low molecular weight oxidized products. The degradation has a significant effect on the crystallisability of the material. DSC analysis shows that as the degradation proceeds, there is a significant decrease in the onset of the melt endotherm as well as the development of a double melt peak and peak broadening. Preparative Temperature Rising Elution Fractionation (TREF) is used to isolate the various fractions according to crystallisability during the polymer degradation. TREF-SEC and TREF-(SEC-FTIR) allows for the isolation and identification of the polymer fractions undergoing oxidative degradation. It is shown that these multidimensional analytical techniques using crystallisability in the first dimensional fractionation provide more information on the mechanism and process of oxidative degradation than traditional bulk analysis methods.