Interactions underpinning the plasticization of a polymer matrix: a dynamic and structural analysis of DMP-plasticized cellulose acetate
This work establishes that the plasticization effect of a classical petrochemical plasticizer, dimethyl phthalate (DMP), on a polymer matrix, cellulose acetate (CA), is due to the development of intermolecular interactions of dipolar type. Plasticized cellulose acetate films are studied with regard to the interactions between the polymer and plasticizer at the macroscopic scale by thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning calorimetry. At the molecular level, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy are used to elucidate the nature of interactions that are responsible for the plasticizing effects. These static and dynamic complementary analyses evidenced that DMP does not establish H-bonding interactions with the polymer chains of cellulose acetate but rather weaker interactions of dipolar type. These dipole–dipole interactions that develop between acetyl side groups of CA and the ester phthalate moieties of DMP increase the overall mobility of CA chains and also locally influence the molecular mobility and the water uptake tendency.
KeywordsCellulose acetate Plasticization Dimethyl phthalate Infra-red Dielectric relaxation
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