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Polymer Degradation Study by Factor Analysis of GPC-FT-IR Data

Volume 55, Number 7 (July 2001) Page 927-934

Schoonover, Jon R.; Zhang, Shuliang L.; Bridgewater, Jon S.; Havrilla, George J.; Fletcher, Michael A.; Lightfoot, J.M.


Factor analysis has been performed on gel permeation chromatography (GPC)-Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopic data sets for one control and two artificially aged, multicomponent polymer systems. This approach was utilized to provide insight into degradation chemistry and to obtain component spectra (factors) and their concentration profiles (scores). The results are evaluated in terms of the infrared spectra of the chemical species present, their concentration profiles, and the different aging environments. For the formulation of a poly(ester urethane) with added plasticizer, and stabilizer, the results demonstrate that chain scission and nitration of the poly(ester urethane) are dominant degradation pathways under radiolytic aging conditions. Thermal aging conditions induce some chain scission. In both aging studies, branching is shown not to be a dominant degradation pathway. However, because branching processes produce insoluble cross-linked material, this possibility was not further investigated in this study.