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A study of the oxidative degradation of polyolefins

Abstract

The oxidative degradation of polyolefins in the presence of transition metal catalysts is well known in the patent and technical literature. It has been suggested that a properly designed oxidatively degradable polymer could be used in limited lifetime articles and also on those whose primary method of disposal is composting, wherein the thermal activity is used to accelerate the oxidation process. The results of a detailed study of transition metal reactivity in the presence of numerous oxidation promoting species in polyolefins are presented. The oxidative degradation of these polyolefins was demonstrated at moderate temperatures under air and in a simulated compost environment. Approaches to determining the ultimate fate of these materials are discussed.

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Correspondence to Denise R. Rutherford.

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Sipinen, A.J., Rutherford, D.R. A study of the oxidative degradation of polyolefins. J Environ Polym Degr 1, 193–202 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01458027

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Key words

  • Oxidative degradation
  • polyolefins
  • transition metals