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Thermal and sonochemical degradation kinetics of poly(n-butyl methacrylate-co-alkyl acrylates): Variation of chain strength and stability with copolymer composition

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Abstract

The thermal degradation of poly(n-butyl methacrylate-co-alkyl acrylate) was compared with ultrasonic degradation. For this purpose, different compositions of poly (n-butyl methacrylate-co-methyl acrylate) (PBMAMA) and a particular composition of poly(n-butyl methacrylate-co-ethyl acrylate) (PBMAEA) and poly(n-butyl methacrylate-co-butyl acrylate) (PBMABA) were synthesized and characterized. The thermal degradation of polymers shows that the poly(alkyl acrylates) degrade in a single stage by random chain scission and poly(n-butyl methacrylate) degrades in two stages. The number of stages of thermal degradation of copolymers was same as the majority component of the copolymer. The activation energy corresponding to random chain scission increased and then decreased with an increase of n-butyl methacrylate fraction in copolymer. The effect of methyl acrylate content, alkyl acrylate substituent, and solvents on the ultrasonic degradation of these copolymers was investigated. A continuous distribution kinetics model was used to determine the degradation rate coefficients. The degradation rate coefficient of PBMAMA varied nonlinearly with n-butyl methacrylate content. The degradation of poly (n-butyl methacrylate-co-alkyl acrylate) followed the order: PBMAMA < PBMAEA < PBMABA. The variation in the degradation rate constant with composition of the copolymer was discussed in relation to the competing effects of the stretching of the polymer in solution and the electron displacement in the main chain. POLYM. ENG. SCI., 2013. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers

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