Influence of the STA boundary conditions on thermal decomposition of thermoplastic polymers
The analysis of polymer chemical decomposition is often highly dependent on the test conditions. In fact, thermal analysis tends to be far more sensitive to instrumental parameters than other branches of chemical analysis. Some of the boundary conditions in thermal analysis have been widely studied in the literature, such as the heating rate or the atmosphere. However, the influence of the sample mass, the gas flow or the use of lid has not been studied enough for thermoplastic polymers. The aim of this paper is to analyse how the experimental boundary conditions of the simultaneous thermal analysis apparatus affect the thermal decomposition of thermoplastic polymers. To do so, a set of 35 experimental tests have been performed including variation of the sample mass, gas flow rate, heating rate, atmosphere and the use of lid in the crucible. Results enable us to analyse the influence in the mass loss and in the energy release or absorbed in the thermal decomposition of thermoplastic polymers, showing the impact of each boundary condition over the thermal decomposition. A comprehensive analysis of the thermal decomposition behaviour of the PVC and LLDPE by considering the influence of all the boundary conditions of the STA is covered. It is especially remarkable the influence of gas flow in the oxidative reactions, and of heating rate in the chemical reactions that thermoplastic polymers undergo in their decomposition. Additionally, sample mass comparison shows only deviation in the oxidative reactions and does not show deviation for the non-oxidative reactions. That seems to show a higher effect on the results because of the energy release in the decomposition reactions than because of the thermal lag due to heat transfer on the sample, as it is usually thought.
KeywordsTG profiles DSC profiles LLDPE PVC Thermal decomposition
Authors would like to thank the Consejo de Seguridad Nuclear for the cooperation and co-financing the project “Simulation of fires in nuclear power plants” and CAFESTO Project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and the Spanish State Research Agency through Public–Private Partnerships (Retos Colaboración 2017 call, ref RTC-2017-6066-8) co-funded by ERDF under the objective “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation”.
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