Document Type : Original research
Academy of Sciences, Institute of Macromolecular Compounds, 199004 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Russian Academy of Sciences, Ioffe Institute, 194021 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
Slavneft-Krasnoyarskneftegaz Ltd., 660012 Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation
Swelling of high-density polyethylene (PE) in organic solvents, orthodichlorobenzene and orthoxylene, was investigated. The swelling kinetics of the PE specimen was described by the first-order equation. For the first time, the PE specimen swelling rate constant was shown to decrease with increasing thickness of the specimens. The equilibrium swelling of the PE specimen was evaluated. It was found that equilibrium swelling is independent of the thickness of specimens. It was shown that storage of polyethylene specimens in organic solvents changes its mechanical properties (tensile strength, Young’s modulus, and elongation-at-break) due to polymer plasticization. We have shown that the increase in flexibility and elongation-at-break after relatively short-term immersion of PE samples in these organic solvents is significant. However, the tensile strength of swollen specimens remains high enough. The interaction between polymer chains and solvent molecules was not detected. The results obtained are important for the design and operation of PE coatings and PE products, such as pipes, tanks, and other accessories exposed to oil products.