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Different aspects of the accelerated oxidation of polypropylene at increased pressure in an autoclave with regard to temperature, pretreatment and exposure media

Polymer Testing
DOI: 10.1016/j.polymertesting.2014.05.006
  • Autoclave Test
  • Accelerated Aging
  • Polypropylene
  • Electron Radiation
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics


Abstract The aim of this study is to investigate and compare three different factors, temperature, pretreatment and exposure media, on the oxidation and aging behavior of polypropylene (PP) bulk samples in the autoclave test under increased oxygen pressure. The aging of polypropylene, in this case syringe material, was accelerated under different conditions. The samples were aged at 75°, 80° and 85 °C under pure oxygen and at 75 °C under ultrapure water. Further samples treated with 15 kGy (e-beam) were aged at 75 °C under pure oxygen. All experiments were carried out at an oxygen partial pressure of 50 bar. The different courses of aging were evaluated and compared. Color and transparency were used to assess the visual changes; weight, geometry and tensile test for the changes in technical properties; and DSC, FTIR and TDS-GC-MS to improve our physico-chemical understanding of the aging processes. The investigations showed that all factors tested influence oxidation/aging behaviour. Dry or wet exposure has no effect on aging during the induction time. However, after the point of maximum service time the degradation process of polymer changes significantly in the presence of water. The increase of aging temperature decreases the maximum service time; however a temperature higher than 80 °C changes the relative ratio of surface and bulk oxidation. The pretreatment with irradiation decreases the maximum service time further, because the irradiation partly damages the antioxidant, and the mobility of antioxidant fragments inside the polymer changes. These diffusion effects influence the relative ratio of bulk and surface oxidation of the polymer sample.

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