Plastics. Inside Out by Thomas L. Szabo (Auth.)

By Thomas L. Szabo (Auth.)

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Copolymers are classified into random and block copolymers (Fig. 7) depending on whether the monomer locations are random, or whether long blocks of each monomer exist. Polyethylene copolymers are random. The figure suggests that the local composition of a random copolymer is the same as that of the monomer mixture. However, in a batch copolymerisation, monomers tend to add to the end of a growing chain at different rates. 7 37 Copolymers of two monomers: (a) Part of a random copolymer containing 60% M i; (b) part of a block copolymer in which there is a 90% probability that each monomer is joined to another of the same kind.

7. I Polyethylenes The original ICI process for polymerising ethylene, developed in the 1940s, produces low density polyethylene (LDPE) with a density in the range 910935 kg m -3. Ethylene, compressed to pressures between 1400 and 2400 bar at a temperature between 200 and 250 ~ is above the critical point where liquids and gases can be distinguished. When it is polymerised using a free Chapter 2 Molecular structures and polymer manufacture 47 radical catalyst, side reactions cause the formation of both short- and longchain branches on the molecules.

The resulting powder particles are 'bumpy' spheres, of diameter about 150p~m; the internal porosity (Fig. 17) is used to absorb stabilisers, lubricants and plasticisers in the dry blending stage of processing. The colloid, that stabilised the suspension, also controls the porosity of the PVC grains. It is also possible to polymerise 'emulsion' PVC. 1-1 Ixm. On drying, these agglomerate to grains of mean size 30-60 txm (Fig. 17), smaller than the 100-160 ~m grain size of suspension PVC. The melt viscosity of PVC depends on the degree to which the particle structure is retained, as well as on the molecular weight.

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