The effects of a range of thermal and light stabilizers on the melt stability (investigated via multiple pass extrusion) and color stability of three different polyethylenes (PEs) were examined. The PEs varied in terms of the catalyst system used to synthesize the polymers and included an HDPE produced by using a chromium-based Phillips catalyst and two LLDPEs produced via chromium-based metallocene and titanium-based Ziegler-Natta catalysts. The additive types included a range of phenolics of different functionality, phosphites, hindered piperidines, an hydroxylamine, and Vitamin E. The results obtained for the three PEs confirmed that primary antioxidants (AOs) such as highly hindered and less, hindered phenols or hydroxylamines promoted good melt stability but in some cases tended toward yellowing. The secondary AOs such as the phosphites or thioethers behaved in the opposite way; color suppression was good, but melt stabilization was poor. It was also shown that for different types of phenols (all with similar molar activity), reducing steric hindrance to the phenolic OH enhanced the tendency to form chromophoric groups and hence color led to better efficiency than high hindrance. Those phenol with higher molar activity (mol OH/kg AO) showed the best processing performance. J. VINYL ADDIT. TECHNOL., 2012. © 2012 Society of Plastics Engineers
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