Insights into the Mechanism and Kinetics of Thermo-Oxidative Degradation of HFPE High Performance Polymer

Sooraj Kunnikuruvan, Priya V. Parandekar, Om Prakash, Thomas K. Tsotsis, Nisanth N. Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The growing requisite for materials having high thermo-oxidative stability makes the design and development of high performance materials an active area of research. Fluorination of the polymer backbone is a widely applied strategy to improve various properties of the polymer, most importantly the thermo-oxidative stability. Many of these fluorinated polymers are known to have thermo-oxidative stability up to 700 K. However, for space and aerospace applications, it is important to improve its thermo-oxidative stability beyond 700 K. Molecular-level details of the thermo-oxidative degradation of such polymers can provide vital information to improve the polymer. In this spirit, we have applied quantum mechanical and microkinetic analysis to scrutinize the mechanism and kinetics of the thermo-oxidative degradation of a fluorinated polymer with phenylethenyl end-cap, HFPE. This study gives an insight into the thermo-oxidative degradation of HFPE and explains most of the experimental observations on the thermo-oxidative degradation of this polymer. Thermolysis of C-CF3 bond in the dianhydride component (6FDA) of HFPE is found to be the rate-determining step of the degradation. Reaction pathways that are responsible for the experimentally observed weight loss of the polymer is also scrutinized. On the basis of these results, we propose a modification of HFPE polymer to improve its thermo-oxidative stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4852-4860
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number21
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


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