Mechanism of the thermal stabilization of poly(vinyl chloride) with metal carboxylates and epoxy plasticizers



The chemical reactions responsible for the retardation of thermal discoloration in poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) stabilized with a combination of an epoxy plasticizer and a heavy metal soap mixture of Group IIa and IIb metals have been studied. Allylic chlorides (a mixture of 4-chlorohexene-2 and 2-chlorohexene-3) are used as prototypes for the degrading segment of the polymer chain. The results confirm earlier reports that, when a mixture of a covalent and ionic metal soap is used as the stabilizer, the covalent moiety (e.g., Cd and Zn soaps) functions to esterify the allylic site of the degrading PVC model. A synergistic effect displayed by the ionic soap (e.g., Ca or Ba) is caused by a transfer of carboxylate ligands from the ionic soap to the depleting covalent species, which has been largely converted to the corresponding chloride. When an epoxy plasticizer model (cyclohexene oxide) is used in conjunction with the metal soap stabilizer, the preferred reaction is esterification. After a considerable build-up of ester, an α-chloroether, 2-hexenyl 4-(2-chlorocyclohexyl) ether, is formed by the reaction of cyclohexene oxide with the PVC model. This reaction was found to be catalyzed by cadmium chloride. The esterification and etherification reactions provide an explanation for the synergism observed in the stabilization of PVC containing a combination of an epoxy plasticizer with a covalent and an ionic metal soap.