Efficient functionalisation of ethylene-propylene rubber in the presence of comonomer

Ahmad, Azhar and Al-Malaika, Sahar (2010). Efficient functionalisation of ethylene-propylene rubber in the presence of comonomer. Journal of Rubber Research, 13 (4), pp. 218-239.


The main aim of this work was to investigate the effect of a highly reactive comonomer, divinylbenzene (DVB), on the extent of melt grafting of glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) on ethylene-propylene rubber (EPR) using 2,5-dimethyl-2,5-bis-(tert-butyl peroxy) hexane (Trigonox 101, T101) as a free radical initiator, and to compare the results with a conventional grafting of the same monomer on EPR. To achieve this, the effect of processing conditions and chemical composition including the concentration of peroxide, GMA and DVB on the extent of grafting was investigated. The presence of the comonomer (DVB) in the grafting process resulted in a significant increase in the extent of the grafting using only a small concentration of peroxide. It was also found that the extent of grafting increased drastically with the increasing DVB concentration. Interestingly, in the comonomer system, the extent of the undesired side reaction, normally the homopolymerisation of GMA (polyGMA) was shown to have reduced tremendously and in most cases the level of polyGMA was immeasurable in the samples. In contrast, the extent of grafting in conventional system increased with increasing the peroxide concentration but the level of grafting was much lower than in the case of DVB. Homopolymerisation of GMA and excessive crosslinking of EPR became dominant at high peroxide concentration and this reflects that the side reactions were favourable in the conventional grafting system.


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