Effect of the zeolite filler on the thermal degradation kinetics of polypropylene
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In this study, the thermal degradation behaviour of polypropylene (PP) and polypropylene-zeolite composites was investigated. Clinoptilolite, a natural zeolitic tuff, was used as the filling material into the composites. Effect of both pure clinoptilolite and silver ion exchanged form of clinoptilolite addition on the thermal degradation kinetics of polypropylene composites was studied by using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermal gravimetry analysis (TGA) techniques. Polymer degradation was evaluated by using DSC with heating rates of 5, 10, and 20 degrees C/ min from room temperature up to 500 degrees C. Silver concentration (4.36, 27.85 and 183.8 mg Ag/g zeolite) was the selected parameter under consideration. From the DSC curves, it was observed that the heat of degradation values of the composites containing 2-6% silver exchanged zeolites (321-390 kJ/kg) were larger compared to that of the pure PP free of silver and zeolite (258 kJ/kg). From the DSC results it was confirmed that PP-zeolite composites can be used at higher temperatures compared to the pure PP polymer because of its higher thermal stability. The thermal decomposition activation energies of the composites were calculated by using both the Kissenger and Ozawa models. The values predicted from these two equations were in close agreement. From the TGA curves, it was found that zeolite addition into the PP matrix speeds down the decomposition reaction, however, silver exchanged zeolite addition into the matrix accelerates the reaction. The higher the silver concentration, the lower the thermal decomposition activation energies were obtained. As a result, PP was found to be much more susceptible to thermal decomposition in the presence of silver exchanged zeolite.