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Investigation of parameters affecting the supercritical fluid extraction of polymer additives from polyethylene

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Investigation of parameters affecting the supercritical fluid extraction of polymer additives from polyethylene Investigation of Parameters Affecting the Supercritical Fluid Extraction of Polymer Additives from Polyethylene Xianwen Lou, Hans-Gerd Jamsen,* and Carel A. Cramers Eindhorien Unicersig of Technology, Laboratory of Instrumental Analysis, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhouen, The Netherlands Abstract. Polymer additives were extracted from polyethylene with supercritical carbon dioxide. The two-film theory, which considers mass transfer across a phase boundary, is applied to qualitatively describe the kinetics of mass transfer from the core of the polymer particles into the supercritical fluid extractant. The effects of pressure, temperature, addition of benzene as a modifier, properties and concen- trations of the solutes, static time, and supercritical fluid extractant flow rate on the extraction process are investigated systematically. At constant temperature the extraction rates first increase with increasing pressure. When pressure reaches a certain level, a further increase of the pressure does not further increase the extraction rates. At constant pressure, the extraction rates were found to increase first and then decrease with increasing temperature. In addition to pressure and temperature, the SFE extraction kinetics is also influenced by the solute concentra- tion, and the rate-limiting parameter in the extraction can be changed from solubility to diffusion during the course of the extraction. The magnitude of the effects of the experimental parameters depends on the properties and molecular weights of the solutes. The role of benzene as a modifier in the extraction of polymer additives from polyethylene is swelling the polymer particles and improve- ment of the solvent strength of the supercritical fluid extractant. Modifier effects were found to be more pronounced at lower temperatures. 0 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Key words: supercritica

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