Document Type : Original research
Iran Polymer and Petrochemical Institute, 14965-115, Tehran, Iran
Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V., D-01069, Dresden, Germany
In this work, the role of comonomer content of 1-hexene-medium density polyethylene (MDPE) copolymer, synthesized using Phillips catalyst, on thermal behavior parameters such as: crystallization, melting temperature and thermal degradation was investigated in detail. The copolymer was fractionated to homogenous short-chain branching (SCB) fractions by "preparative temperature rising elution fractionation" (P-TREF) method and then it was subjected to thermal analyses. A broad chemical composition distribution (CCD) in terms of SCB content and molecular weight (Mw) was observed by P-TREF and gel permeation chromatography (GPC), respectively. Based on P-TREF results, a parabolic relationship between methylene sequence length (MSL) and elution temperature (ET) was presented. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) showed distinct, well-defined melting peaks over a 22 °C temperature range for SCB contents of about 3-12 (br/1000 C). The variations in physical characteristics such as melting temperature (Tm), crystallinity (Xc), crystallization temperature (Tc) and lamellae thickness (Lc) against SCB content were correlated. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) suggested linear relationships between the temperature at maximum degradation rate (Tmax) as well as the degradation initiation temperature (T5%) versus SCB content. Moreover, the TGA curves exhibited distinct differences at both initiation and propagation stages of thermal degradation at dissimilar comonomer contents.