The effects of covalently bound phosphorus (P-) and nitrogen (N-) bearing groups on the thermal and combustion attributes of polystyrene have been investigated. The necessary chemical modifications were achieved through co- and ter-polymerisation reactions, in a suitable solvent, under radical initiation conditions. The influence of P-N cooperative interactions on the combustion properties of styrenic polymers was studied. The co-monomers of interest included: diethyl(acryloyloxymethyl)phosphonate (DEAMP), diethyl-p-vinylbenzylphosphonate (DEpVBP), acrylic acid-2-[(diethoxyphosphoryl)methyl amino]ethyl ester (ADEPMAE) and maleimide (MI). For the first time, the ter-polymers of styrene containing both P- groups, DEAMP or DEpVBP, and N- groups, MI, were prepared via solution polymerisation. It was found that the thermal stability and combustion characteristics of polystyrene were significantly altered by the presence of nominal amounts of P- and N- containing groups, and, in certain cases, cooperative interactions of these groups were also evident. For instance, the extents of char formation post-degradation of the prepared ter-polymers, as revealed by thermogravimetric investigations in an inert atmosphere (nitrogen), were found to be enhanced by more than 20%, as compared to the unmodified polystyrene. The heat release rates and heat release capacities of the ter-polymers, as measured using the pyrolysis combustion flow calorimetric (PCFC) technique, were reduced by almost 50% in comparison to the same parameters obtained for the unmodified counterpart.
- styrenic polymer
- chemical modification
- thermal stability
- combustion characteristics
- phosphorus-nitrogen cooperative effect