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Product specific thermal degradation kinetics of bisphenol F epoxy in inert and oxidative atmospheres using evolved gas analy...

by Derek B Dwyer, Nidia C Gallego, Jennifer L Niedziela, Roger J Kapsimalis, Douglas C Duckworth
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Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
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Knowledge of the degradation kinetics for polymer materials is important for understanding thermal stability. Here, evolved gas analysis–mass spectrometry and pyrolysis gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry were evaluated for the potential to deliver additional insight into thermal degradation kinetics of diglycidal ether of bisphenol F (DGEBF) epoxy thermoset under inert and oxidative atmospheres. Degradation products of selected precursor ions were evaluated for their uniqueness to the specific precursor using extracted ion thermographs. Unique mass peaks, solely attributed to a single reaction pathway of a specific product, were determined from extracted ion thermographs and used to determine both activation energy (Ea) and pre-exponential factors for the specific primary reaction pathways. These primary reaction pathways for DGEBF epoxy degradation were then evaluated in the context of transition state theory (TST) and related transition state enthalpies (ΔH‡) and entropies (ΔS‡) of activation to further elucidate the degradation process. It was determined under pyrolysis conditions, as suggested by the Ea, the formation of bisphenol F monomer was the rate-limiting step toward the formation of xanthene and phenol. In contrast, under thermo-oxidative conditions, reactions involving oxygen containing species were identified as the rate-limiting step for all observed products based on the large negative ΔS‡ calculated from TST. This work demonstrates a powerful combination of technique and theory that can provide new insight into the degradation of polymer materials.